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Monday, October 22, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Benedict XVI conferred the "Ratzinger Prize" upon two scholars of theology. The award was established by the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI".

The prize winners this year are the French historian Remi Brague, and the American scholar of patrology and theology Fr. Brian Edward Daley S.J.

Following some introductory remarks from Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, president of the foundation, and the presentation of the two winners by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the foundation's academic committee, the Holy Father addressed some words to those present.

The winners, he said, "are experts deeply involved in two questions which are vital for the Church in our time: ecumenism and relations with other religions. Fr. Daley, by studying the Fathers of the Church, has entered into the best school for understating and loving the Church, one and undivided though in the richness of her different traditions". Remi Brague "is a great scholar of the philosophy of religions, in particular that of Judaism and Islam in the Middle Ages. Now, fifty years after the opening of Vatican Council II, I would like to join them in re-examining two conciliar documents: the Declaration 'Nostra aetate' on non-Christian religions, and the Decree 'Unitatis redintegratio' on ecumenism. To these, however, I would add another document which has proved to be immensely important: the Declaration 'Dignitatis humanae' on religious freedom".

Benedict XVI went on to recall that both prize winners "are university professors, deeply committed to teaching". This, he said, "highlights an important aspect of coherence" in the activity of the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI" which, apart from the prize, also grants bursaries to doctorate students of theology and organises academic conferences.

"People such as Fr. Daley and Professor Brague are exemplary figures for the transmission of a knowledge with brings together science and wisdom, academic rigour and a passion for man, that he may discover the 'art of living'. We need people who, through an illuminated and coherent faith, make God close and credible to mankind today. ... We need people whose intellect has been illuminated by the light of God, so that they can speak to the minds and hearts of others".

The Holy Father concluded: "Working in the Lord's vineyard, where He calls us, so that the men and women of our time may discover or rediscover the true 'art of living': this was also one of the great passions of Vatican Council II, and is more urgent than ever in the context of current efforts towards new evangelisation".

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