Speaking at the press conference in the Holy See Press Office were Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, president of the Foundation; Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture and member of the Foundation’s Scientific Committee; Prof. Daniel Sada, Rector of the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Madrid; and Dr. Fernando F. Sánchez Campos, Rector of the Universidad Católica de Costa Rica.
In 2010, the Foundation was instituted for the purpose of promoting studies and publications on the work and thought of Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, and for promoting studies in theology and connected disciplines.
“The aim of this press conference,” Father Lombardi said, “is to present the three main activities of the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI during this fall of 2017.”
The first, the former Vatican Spokesman announced, is the first edition of the “Ragione Aperta” (Open Reason) Prize, to be presented on September 27th, in collaboration with the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid, at the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Four winning works were chosen, two in the field of ‘research’ and two in ‘teaching.’
For research, the winners are: Darcia Narvaez of the University of Notre Dame, USA, with a work on “Neurobiology and the development of human morality,” and Claudia Vanney and Juan Franck, of the Universidad Austral of Buenos Aires, with a collective work on “Determinism or indeterminism? Great questions from the science of philosophy.”
For teaching, the winners are: Michael Schuck, Nancy Tuchman and Michael Garanzini of the Loyola University of Chicago, for an online text for ecological formation entitled “Healing Earth;” and Sarolta Laura Baritz, a Dominican sister from Budapest, for a teaching program on the “Christian social principles for the economy,” implemented at the Sapientia College and the Corvinus University.
On November 18, 2017, the winners of the 7th Edition of the renowned “Ratzinger Prize,” will be honored, Fr. Lombardi said, noting two characteristics of this year’s selection.
“Demonstrating the ecumenical openness of the horizons of the Prize, we have a Catholic (Professor Karl-Heinz Menke), a Lutheran (Professor Theodor Dieter, in the anniversary year of the Reformation), and an Orthodox (Maestro Arvo Pärt).”
Father Lombardi also discussed a third important upcoming event. The Seventh International Congress on the theme “Laudato si’. For the Care of the Common Home,” a necessary conversion to the “Ecology of Man,”will take place Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2017, in San José de Costa Rica, in collaboration with the Universidad Católica de Costa Rica.
Biographical Information about the Ratzinger Prize Winners, courtesy of the Vatican Press Office:
- Theodor Dieter (born in 1951): German Lutheran theologian, Professor (since 1994) and director (since 1997) at the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg. Heavily involved in ecumenical dialogue, he played a role of great importance in the drafting and approval of the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” of 31 October 1999. In 2012 he was the Relator in the Catholic-Lutheran dialogue during the course at Castelgandolfo of the Ratzinger-Schülerkreis, in the presence of Benedict XVI.
- Karl-Heinz Menke (born in 1950). German Catholic theologian and priest. Professor emeritus of Dogmatics and Preparatory Theology at the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Bonn, member of the Commissions of the German Episcopal Conference, he is the author of numerous theological publications. He has a profound knowledge of the thought of Joseph Ratzinger, to whom he has dedicated various studies. In September 2014 he was appointed by Pope Francis as a member for five years of the International Theological Commission.
- Arvo Pärt (born in 1935 in Paide, Estonia), Orthodox Christian, musical composer, devoted mainly to religious music, for which he is recognised at international level. Holder of a doctorate honoris causa from the Pontifical Institute of Religious Music, he participated in the exhibition on “The Splendour of truth, beauty of charity”, organised for the sixtieth anniversary of the ordination of Benedict XVI, performing the Pater Noster in the presence of the Pontiff. He was appointed as a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture by Benedict XVI in 2011.