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Rome Reports

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Winner of Ratzinger Prize: I've never felt out of place in the Church as a female theologian


The coronavirus prevented the pope from personally presenting the Ratzinger Prize, but that in no way diminished the significance and honor of receiving the award.                                         

TRACEY ROWLAND
University of Notre Dame (Australia)
“I received the news of the Ratzinger Prize by email at a time when the part of Australia in which I live was under stage four lockdown, so it was a really great source of consolation in a really difficult time.”

Tracey Rowland is one of the two winners. She's an expert in theology and culture and the first person from Oceania to receive what's often regarded as the “Nobel Prize in Theology.” She's also the third woman to receive the award.

TRACEY ROWLAND
University of Notre Dame (Australia)
“I think we're now in a situation in the life of the Church where most of our bishops have been to university before they entered seminaries, and so they're more than-- Well, they're completely at home dealing with academic women because they've been surrounded by academic women at university, both as their classmates and also as their university professors. So I never feel as though I'm in a strange position as a Catholic female theologian.”

Her passion for research has led her to a deeper analysis of one of Benedict XVI's favorite topics: Christian humanism.

She has no doubts about which of Ratzinger's works she would recommend to the general public.

TRACEY ROWLAND
University of Notre Dame (Australia)
“If I was to be asked which single book of Joseph Ratzinger would I recommend people to read, I would say, I would look at his Jesus of Nazareth books. His commentary on the life of Christ in the scriptures. That's where I would begin. If I was talking to university students, particularly university students with a knowledge of philosophy, then I would recommend his Introduction to Christianity, which was an international best-seller when it was first released in 1968.”

Unfortunately because of the coronavirus, Tracey was unable to travel to Rome to receive the award. She hopes to do so next year so she can personally thank Pope Francis and Benedict XVI.

Javier Romero

Translation: CT