June 30, 2011. (Romereports.com)
Benedict XVI has awarded the Ratzinger prize in theology in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace. The three winners are scholars in theology and are the first to receive this award since the creation of the Ratzinger Vatican Foundation last year.
Among the winners is Father Olegario Gonzalez de Cardedal of Spain. He's a 76 year old professor of dogmatic and fundamental theology at the Pontifical University of Salamanca. Benedict XVI“Professor Gonzalez has worked in all the great themes of theology, and this is not simply reflecting or talking around a table, but always confronting the drama of our time, living and even suffering in a very personal way the big issues of faith and thus questions of contemporary man.”
Also being awarded was Maximilian Heim, a 50 year old Cistercian from Germany be recognized for his work as a theologian and an abbot. His studies have been focused on the theology of Joseph Ratzinger.
The third winner was Manlio Simonetti, an 85 year old Italian professor of Christian studies.
The pope addressed the audience on the question of what theology really is and how it plays a role in science. He thanked the Ratzinger prize winners for their help in making theology relevant in today's culture. Benedict XVI“We must acknowledge, with gratitude, that your work has produced great results, and the Christian message has received new light, capable of making visible its inner wealth.”
The winners were chosen by cardinals and other members from the Ratzinger foundation. They based the selections for work in building bridges between theology and culture.
Each winner also receives $87,000 along with the recognition of the award. The foundation is funded through private donations as well as from part of the royalties from the books written by the pope.
These three men are the first winners of the Ratzinger award that will now be given away every year as a sort of “Nobel prize” of theology.