ASSIGNMENT OF THE "RATZINGER PRIZE"
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
Saturday, November 17, 2018
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am pleased to participate once again this year at the award ceremony for the eminent personalities presented to me by the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI on the proposal of his Scientific Committee. I greet the two Prize winners: Professor Marianne Schlosser and Architect Mario Botta, as well as the members and friends of the Foundation present here; and I thank Cardinal Angelo Amato and Father Federico Lombardi who outlined the meaning of this event and the profile of the Prize winners.
This is a good opportunity to address our affectionate and grateful thought to the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. As admirers of his cultural and spiritual heritage, you have received the mission to cultivate it and continue to make it fruitful, with that strongly ecclesial spirit that has distinguished Joseph Ratzinger since his fruitful youth theological activity, when he already gave precious fruits in the Vatican Council II, and then in an increasingly demanding manner in the successive stages of his long life of service, as a professor, Archbishop, Head of the Dicastery and finally Pastor of the universal Church. His is a spirit that looks with awareness and courage to the problems of our time, and knows how to draw from the listening of Scripture in the living tradition of the Church the wisdom necessary for a constructive dialogue with today's culture. In this line, I encourage you to continue to study his writings, but also to face the new themes on which faith is urged to dialogue, like those that have been evoked by you and which I consider very current, of the care of creation as a common home and defense of the dignity of the human person.
But today I would like to express my particular appreciation for the two personalities awarded the Prize. I am very pleased that the award for research and teaching of theology is attributed to a woman, Professor Marianne Schlosser. It is not the first time - because Prof. Anne-Marie Pelletier has already received it - but it is very important that the contribution of women in the field of scientific theological research and the teaching of theology be recognized more and more. considered almost exclusive territories of the clergy. It is necessary that this contribution be encouraged and find a wider space, coherently with the growing presence of women in the various fields of responsibility of the Church, in particular, and not only in the cultural field. Since Paul VI proclaimed Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena doctors of the Church, there is no longer any doubt that women can reach the highest peaks in the intelligence of the faith. John Paul II and Benedict XVI also confirmed this by including the names of other women in the series of doctors, St. Therese of Lisieux and Hildegard of Bingen.
In addition to theology, since last year the Ratzinger Awards have been appropriately conferred also in the field of Christian-inspired arts. I therefore congratulate the architect Mario Botta. Throughout the history of the Church, sacred buildings have been a concrete call to God and to the dimensions of the spirit wherever the Christian proclamation has spread throughout the world; they expressed the faith of the believing community, they welcomed it, helping to give form and inspiration to his prayer. The commitment of the architect, creator of sacred space in the city of men, is therefore of very high value, and must be recognized and encouraged by the Church, especially when we risk the oblivion of the spiritual dimension and the dehumanization of urban spaces.
On the background and in the context of the great problems of our time, theology and art must therefore continue to be animated and raised to the power of the Spirit, source of strength, joy and hope. So allow me to conclude by recalling the words with which our Pope Emeritus invited us to hope by evoking the spiritual elevation of a great theologian and saint particularly dear to him and well known by our award-winning Professor Schlosser. On the occasion of his visit to Bagnoregio, home of St. Bonaventure, Benedict XVI expressed himself thus: "A beautiful image of hope we find in one of his Advent sermons where he compares the movement of hope to the bird's flight, which spreads its wings in the widest possible way, and to move them takes full force. It makes, in a sense, all movement itself to go up and fly. Hope is flying, says San Bonaventura. But hope requires that all our members make movement and project themselves towards the true height of our being, towards the promises of God. Those who hope - he states - "must raise their heads, turning their thoughts upwards, towards the height of our existence, that is, towards God" (Sermo XVI, Dom. I Adv., Opera Omnia IX, 40th) »(Speech at Bagnoregio, 6 September 2009).
I thank the theologians and the architects who help us to lift our heads and turn our thoughts towards God. Congratulations to all of you for your noble work, so that it may always be addressed to this end.