Fr. Federico Lombardi @ Vatican Media

2019 Ratzinger Prize: The Laureates Are a Canadian Philosopher and an African Theologian

Creation of the Prize Ratio et Spes – Reason and Hope

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Canadian philosopher and professor Charles Margrave Taylor, specialist in relations between religion and modernity, and African theologian Paul Bere, known for his initiatives in the development of Theology on the Continent, are the two laureates of the 9th edition of the “Ratzinger Prize,” which will be conferred by Pope Francis at the Vatican on November 9, 2019, announced Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., President of the Foundation’s Administrative Council.

On Monday, September 30, 2019, Father Lombardi presented the laureates and the initiatives of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation in the Vatican’s Press Office, beside Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture and Member of the Foundation’s Scientific Committee.

Among the Foundation’s initiatives are: the 9th International Symposium on the theme “The Economic, Social and Spiritual Situation of the Countries of Central Europe in the Light of the Social Doctrine of the Church,” in collaboration with the Pazmany Peter Hungarian Catholic University, which will be held in Budapest on October 8-9; and the Seminar entitled ”The Challenges of the Pan-Amazonian Region: Necessary Cooperation between the International Organizations and the Church and Leadership Ethic,” which will be held in the Vatican on October 19, in the framework of the Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region (October 6-27, 2019).

Third Edition of the “Open Reason” Prize

 Father Lombardi mentioned the third edition of the “Open Reason” Prize, in collaboration with the Francisco de Vitoria Spanish University, where the ceremony to confer the prizes was held in Madrid last September 19.

The winners this year are: Marta Bertolaso (of the Bio-Medical Campus of Rome), for her work “Philosophy of Cancer: A Dynamic and Relational Vision,” and Robert D. Enright (University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA) who worked on the theme ”Therapy of Forgiveness: An Empirical Guide to Overcome Anger and Reconstruct Hope.”

The Pedagogy Prize was awarded to Bruno Dick (University of Manitoba, Canada) for “Innovations in Teaching and Course of Initiation to Management,” with an ethical dimension.

New Prize: “Ratio et Spes – Reason and Hope”

 In the course of the press conference, Father Lombardi announced “another totally new initiative of the Foundation” — the creation of a new prize, entitled “Ratio et Spes – Reason and Hope.”

This prize is conferred in collaboration with the Nicolo Copernico University of Torum, in Poland, which “isn’t a Catholic University, but a State University, in the heart of which is found a Faculty of Theology,” explained the Jesuit. “Contacts with the academic authorities of this University have existed for at least two years, thanks to the existence of a ‘Ratzinger Center,’ attached to our Foundation, operating in a University Lyceum located in the neighboring city of Bydgoszcz,” he added.

The new Prize will cover a different specific area each year. In this first year, it concerns the development of artificial intelligence and its applications, possibilities, but also the questions it poses to humanity today.”

The Prize’s Jury won’t be permanent but will be made up each year by known specialists in the area chosen, representing different Universities, not only Polish but also foreign. It will be conferred on the occasion of the Nicolo Copernico University festival at Torum, on February 19, Science Day in Poland.

With this new initiative, “the Foundation hopes to achieve two main objectives”: “to develop its mission consisting in promoting inter-disciplinary dialogue on major themes of the cultural debate, not only in the “Occidental’ regions, but also in the cultural regions of Central and Eastern Europe”; and “to begin a cultural collaboration not only with Catholic institutions, but also with State institutions, thus facilitating dialogue and collaboration in the University environment.”

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Marina Droujinina

Journalist (Moscow & Brussels). Theology (Brussels, IET).

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