Vatican City, (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present the "Ratzinger Prize", which was established by the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI" and is due to be conferred on 20 October.
At the press conference Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Foundation's academic committee, announced the names of the prize winners: the French historian Remi Brague and the American scholar of patrology and theology Fr. Brian Edward Daley S.J.
From 1990 to 2010 Remi Brague was professor at La Sorbonne University in Paris, France. He currently holds the "Romano Guardini" chair at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, while continuing to work as visiting professor at a number of American, Spanish and Italian universities. He is a member of the "Institut de France, Academie des sciences morales et politiques", and holds the "Grand Prix de Philosophie de l'Academie Francaise". His many works include: "Europe, la voie romaine", "La sagesse du monde. Histoire de l'experience humaine de l'univers", "Du Dieu des chretiens et d’un ou deux autres" and "Les Ancres dans le Ciel".
Cardinal Ruini described Professor Brague as "a true philosopher and, at the same time, a great historian of cultural thought who unites a profound and unequivocal Christian and Catholic faith to his speculative ability and historical vision".
From 1978 to 1996 Fr. Brian Edward Daley taught theology and the history of theology at the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Currently he is a professor at the University of Notre Dame. He is active in the field of ecumenism, particularly as regards relations between Catholics and Orthodox, and is the Catholic secretary of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation. Among other works, he is author of "The Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology". He has also edited an anthology of texts of Jesuit spirituality entitled "Companions in the Mission of Jesus", and contributed to the "Handbuch der Dogmengeschichte".
Fr. Daley, said Cardinal Ruini, "is a great historian of patristic theology, but also a man entirely committed to the life and mission of the Church, an exemplary model of the fusion of academic rigour with passion for the Gospel".
Benedict XVI ordered the creation of the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI" on 1 March 2010, in order to respond to a desire expressed by many scholars over the course of the years. One of the tasks of the academic committee is to establish criteria of excellence for the creation and conferral of prizes to scholars who have distinguished themselves in academic publications and/or research.
"The aim of the Foundation", explained Msgr. Giuseppe Scotti, president of that institution who was also present at today's press conference, "is to place the issue of God at the core of philosophical reflection. ... The conferral of the Ratzinger Prize, which seeks to place the question of God before the eyes of the public, is just one of the Foundation's three regular activities. The other two, perhaps less well know but equally important, ... are the granting of bursaries to doctorate students of theology, and organising high-level academic conferences".