October 28, 2013 (Romereports.com) The Ratzinger Prize has emerged as the most prestigious award for theology. It was handed out over the weekend. But it was the first time Benedict XVI was not present. The stand out moments, though, were Pope Francis' greetings to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
"I am happy to be here with you all, above all, to show our appreciation and our great affection for Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.”
During the awards ceremony, the Pope also highlighted the last books written by Benedict XVI, a trilogy on the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
"I remember that when the first volume was published, some said, 'But what is this? A Pope does not write books on theology, he writes encyclicals!' Certainly Pope Benedict considered that issue. But even in that case, as always, he followed the voice of our Lord in his illuminated conscience.”
Pope Francis said the key to the trilogy is that Benedict XVI wrote it based on his theological studies, as well as his personal prayers. The Pope then handed the Ratzinger Prize to the dean of King's College in London, and to one of the main authors that assembled Opera Omnia, or the complete works, of Joseph Ratzinger.
"The first is an English biblical scholar, professor Richard A. Burridge, Dean of King's College in London and minister from the Anglican Communion.”
"Christian Schaller was a scientific collaborator, and then assistant professor to Gerhard Ludwig Müller, now prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
The prize is distributed by the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation, which looks after the Pope emeritus' royalties. It awards "scholars who have distinguished themselves for outstanding achievements in scientific research” in the field of theology. The prize includes a 50,000 euro check to continue their research.
Among the highlights were the two greetings from Pope Francis to his former Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The first was upon arrival, while second was before saying goodbye.
"You are looking much better! I always think of you. I always thing of you with gratitude.”