Anne-Marie Pelletier first woman to win the Ratzinger Prize

Vatican City, 17 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present two events organised by the “Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI”: the 2014 Ratzinger Prize, which will be awarded on 22 November, and the congress to be held in the Pontifical Bolivarian University of Medellin in Colombia (23-24 October 2014).

The speakers at the conference were Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Scientific Committee of the “Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI”, Msgr. Giuseppe Scotti, president of the Foundation, and German Cardona Gutierrez, Colombia's ambassador to the Holy See. Cardinal Ruini announced the names of the prizewinners: the French Professor Anne-Marie Pelletier and Professor Waldemar Chrostowski. Professor Pelletier is the first woman ever to win the Prize, and is a scholar of hermeneutics and biblical exegesis who has also focused on the issue of women in Christianity; Professor Chrostowski, the first ever Polish prizewinner, is a priest, biblicist and expert on Catholic-Jewish dialogue.

Anne-Marie Pelletier, born in 1946, taught general linguistics and comparative literature at the University of Paris X, then Marne-la-Vallee, as well as theology of marriage at the Catholic Institute of Paris. She has for some years taught sacred scriptures and biblical hermeneutics at the Notre Dame faculty of the seminary of Paris. Since 2013 she has held the role of professor of biblical teaching at the European Institute of Science of Religions (IESR). Her research extends to Judaism and Christianity at the College des Bernardins, and the monastic world. She has published widely: notable works in the field of hermeneutics and biblical exegesis are “Lectures du Cantique des Cantiques. De l'enigme du sens aux figures du lecteur”, “Lectures bibliques. Aux sources de la culture occidentale”, “D'age en age les Ecritures. La Bible et l'hermeneutique contemporaine”, and “Le livre d'Isaie, l'histoire au prisme de la prophetie”. With regard to the question of women in Christianity, she has written two books: “Le christianisme et les femmes. Vingt siecles d'histoire”, and “Le signe de la femme”.

“Pelletier is therefore a most distinguished figure in contemporary French Catholicism”, commented Cardinal Ruini, “who unites deserved scientific prestige and a great and versatile cultural liveliness with an authentic dedication to causes of the highest importance for Christian witness in society”.

Msgr. Waldemar Chrostowski was born in 1951 in Chrostowo, Poland. He holds a doctorate in theology and in 2013 received the title of university professor from the President of Poland. He is the general editor of the journal “Collectanea Theologica” and is the president of the Association of Polish Biblicists. His scientific and didactic production is extensive and includes his dissertation “Prophets before history. The interpretation of the story of Israel in Ezekiel 16, 20 and 23 and their reinterpretation in the Bible of the Seventies”, the two volumes of “The Garden of Eden – known testimony of the Assyrian diaspora” and “Assyrian diaspora of the Israelites”, “God, Bible, Messiah”, and “The Church, Jews, Poland”. He teaches in the faculty of theology of the Warsaw Academy, now Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University, and in various other universities and seminaries.

“Msgr. Chrostowski is engaged in Catholic-Jewish and Polish-Jewish dialogue and has for some time been a member of the commission of the Polish episcopate for dialogue with Judaism. He unites scientific rigour with passion for the Word of God, service to the Church and engagement in interreligious dialogue”, concluded Cardinal Ruini.

Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti went on to present the convention “Respect for life, path for peace”, which will take place from 23 to 24 October in the Bolivarian University of Medellin, Colombia. The congress is the fourth since the institution in 2010 of the “Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI” and, like the previous ones, will count on the participation of the universities in the host country, along with the local Church and representatives of civil society and politics. Since the first encounter, organinsed in Bygdoszcz, Poland, 275 universities have taken part, involving 1600 teachers and students who have carried out projects of reflection and research related to the theme.

“The appointment in Medellin this October … once more emphasises that universities – the young people and people who study, think and seek there – can and wish to take an active and committed role in the construction of a fully human future, aware that our times, marked by globalisation, with its positive and negative aspects, as well as bloody conflicts and threats of war, necessitate renewed and concerted commitment to seeking the common good, and the development of the whole of humanity and the whole human person”.