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A 'Nobel Prize' for theology during the Synod of Bishops

· Benedict XVI himself will present the prize called after him to two scholars ·

The presentation of the “Ratzinger Prize”, in its second year, will take place on Saturday morning, 20 October, in the context of the upcoming Synodal Assembly. The Pope himself will present the prize to two academics. “On that day, the Joseph Ratzinger — Benedict XVI — Vatican Foundation”, Mons. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, its President, explains, “wishes to say in a simple and practical way ‘thank you’ to those who in the darkness of our times spare no efforts to make the splendour of truth shine out in profound communion with the Holy Father”.

This is another reason why the date for the conferral of this sort of “Nobel for theology” has been set in the midst of the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”, which will open on 7 October and will end on the 28th of this month.

The conferral of the Prize called after the Pontiff to those scholars distinguished for their special merits in the activities of publishing or scientific research, is one of the Foundation’s purposes which include the organization of important study symposiums.

Last year, 30 June, the Pope presented the prize to Manlio Simonetti, Olegario González de Cardedal and Maximilian Heim. Thanks to the work of the Scientific Committee — chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini and other members: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and Cardinal Angelo Amato, Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer and Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès — the contribution of this Italian layman, Simonetti, considered a leading authority in the field of studies on early Christianity, were brought to the attention of the international scientific community, as was the work of the Spanish priest González de Cardedal who founded and directed (from 1998 to 2008) the Karl Rahner-Hans Urs von Balthasar School of Theology, and the German Cistercian, Abbot of the Monastery of Heiligenkreuz in Austria.

“The Ratzinger Prize”, Cardinal Ruini explained while presenting it to the press on 14 June 2011, “is open to non-Catholics”, because it is also for “those rising scholars who are at the beginning of their careers but have already demonstrated strictness and passion in their work”.

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