At 11.30 this morning, in the Marconi Room of Palazzo Pio, in Piazza Pia 3, a Press Conference took place to present the winners of the Ratzinger 2020 Prize and the initiatives of the Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture and Member of the Scientific Committee of the Foundation, attended the Press Conference; Father Federico Lombardi, SI, President of the Foundation's Board of Directors.
Below is the speech that Fr. Federico Lombardi gave during the press conference:
Speech by Fr. Federico Lombardi, SI
The purpose of this Press Conference is to present the main activities of the Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation during this year 2020 and in particular to announce and present the two "winners" of the 2020 Ratzinger Prize. I thank Cardinal Ravasi, who he chairs this conference in the dual capacity of President of the Council for Culture and member of the Scientific Committee of the Ratzinger Foundation.
I remember that the Foundation was established in 2010 with the aim of promoting studies and publications on the work and thought of J. Ratzinger - Benedict XVI, and more generally of promoting theological studies and related disciplines.
The concrete initiatives indicated by the Statute mainly go in three directions: 1. prizes for scholars and deserving works; 2. conferences and study meetings and publications; 3. scholarships for PhD students.
The most important and well-known initiative we need to talk about is of course the Ratzinger Prize, which is now in its 10th edition. The winners are proposed to Pope Francis by the Scientific Committee (made up of 5 members: Card. A. Amato, K. Koch, G. Ravasi, L. Ladaria and by the Bishop of Regensburg, Mons. Rudolf Voderholzer) and approved by him.
As was mostly the case in previous editions, this year the winners are two.
Prof. Jean-Luc Marion
Prof. Jean-Luc Marion (b. Paris 1946) is a philosopher and theologian. He studied at the École Normale Supérieure, a pupil of Althusser, Derrida and assistant to F. Alquié. Prof. of metaphysics in 1981 first in Nanterre (Paris X) and then from 1995 at the Sorbonne (Paris IV).
Marion's reflection developed around two fundamental lines, that of the history of philosophy, and that of phenomenology. In the history of philosophy, his contributions on Descartes and the history of metaphysics are fundamental, with which he made himself known in the academic field. However, it is in phenomenology that Marion's fundamental contribution lies, in that current of French phenomenology where we also find Lévinas, Ricoeur, M. Henry and Derrida, of whom he was also a disciple. In the wake of Lévinas, Marion tries to show that the question of being, however central to the history of metaphysics, is not the fundamental one, and that it must be overcome in a double movement, on the one hand horizontally by ethics understood as love. and donation, and on the other, vertically, as theological transcendence. Marion approaches phenomenology starting from the act of giving and giving, and develops the concept of "saturated phenomenon": the saturation of the concept, an overabundance of meaning present in the phenomenon, which she then also applied to the philosophy and history of 'art. On this basis, Marion developed a phenomenology of love and being as a gift, which has its most complete expression in the workÉtant donné. Essai d'une phénoménologie de la donation .
Marion is Academic of France (2008), author of numerous publications and director of some prestigious series. He was a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture. He regularly collaborates with the international magazine Communio.
Prof. Tracey Rowland
Born on 7 July 1963, Australian, she studied law and then in philosophy and political philosophy at the Universities of Queensland and Melbourne. He received his doctorate from Cambridge University on the relationship between twentieth century theology and the idea of culture, with particular reference to the philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre and the theology of Henri De Lubac and Joseph Ratzinger. From 2001 to 2017 she was Dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family in Melbourne. In the same period he obtained his licentiate and doctorate in theology at the Lateran University in Rome. He currently holds the St. John Paul II Research Chair in Theologyof the Notre Dame University of Australia. Among his main works, two are dedicated to the thought of J. Ratzinger and translated into different languages: La fede di Ratzinger. The theology of Benedict XVI (2008) and Benedict XVI. A Guide for the Perplexed (2017). He has published over 150 articles. He is a member of the editorial board of the international magazine Communio. His teaching and research activity ranges in different fields of theology, in particular fundamental theology, theological anthropology and ecumenism. He has been a member of the International Theological Commission since 2014.
With the new winners, the Ratzinger Awards assigned become 22 in all, from 15 countries and 5 different continents. In fact, with Prof. Rowland we also reached Oceania.
The awarding of the Prize is scheduled for November 14 in the Apostolic Palace, as in previous editions, by Pope Francis. We hope that the ceremony can take place despite the pandemic. Should it be canceled due to force majeure, i.e. the impossibility of the two winners to participate, the Prize will be awarded the same for 2020, but the winners will be invited to participate and receive the Diploma together with the winners of next year 2021.
As for the past year, I remember that before the start of the pandemic we were able to hold the IX International Study Symposium promoted by the Foundation. It took place in Budapest, on 8-9 October, in collaboration with the Hungarian Catholic University "Pázmány Péter", and was dedicated to the theme: "The economic, social and spiritual situation of Central European countries in the light of the Doctrine of the Church ". The place and theme - clearly topical in today's European context - were chosen on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Speakers represented various countries of the Central European area (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Ukraine…), but also scholars from Western Europe took part. The first Report was given by Card. Péter Erdö (Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest), the second by HE Roland Minnerath (Archbishop of Dijon and Pontifical Academician), the third by Prof.sa Hanna Suchocka (former Prime Minister of Poland and Pontifical Academician). Among the other speakers, the President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Prof. Stefano Zamagni, and prof. Hans Joas (of the Humboldt University of Berlin). The Acts are being prepared. Hans Joas (of the Humboldt University of Berlin). The Acts are being prepared. Hans Joas (of the Humboldt University of Berlin). The Acts are being prepared.
During the spring, the Proceedings of the previous Symposium were published, published in full in English with the Franciscan University Press: Fundamental Rights and Conflicts among Rights. The theme is very important. Unfortunately, the pandemic prevented the presentation initiatives that were planned.
This year the "Open Reason" Award has reached its fourth edition, in collaboration with the Francisco de Vitoria University of Madrid, which is awarded every year to some works that realize the Ratzingerian idea of "open reason", that is, of dialogue in action between different disciplines, in particular sciences (mathematics, natural, human) and philosophy and theology. The international jury awarded this year, in the "research section", a great collective work on the vision of man (from a psychological, philosophical, theological point of view ...): A Catholic Christian Meta-Model of the Person: Integration of Psychology and Mental Health Practice (editors: D. Paul C. Vitz, D. William J. Nordling, D. Craig Steven Titus, of Divine Mercy University); the workHuman Embryos Human Beeings. A Scientific and Philosophical Approach , by Samuel and Maureen Condic (University of Utah) and the Opera What's the matter? Toward a neo-Aristotelian ontology of nature , by William MR Simpson (University of Cambridge). In the “teaching section” the work (with the related educational programs) was awarded the Teaching Character Virtues. A Neo-Aristotelian Approach , by James A. Arthur (University of Birmingham).
Unfortunately, the award ceremony, accompanied by a study seminar with the participation of the award winners, this year could not be organized - at least so far -, and it was limited to an internet seminar promoted by the Francisco de Vitoria University.
In any case, the initiative is very vital, as evidenced by the number of works nominated for the award (122), much more than a hundred as every year, the number of universities represented (96) and the internationality of the authors (from 15 countries different), mainly, though not exclusively, from the Iberian area and the two Americas. The works presented are almost all in English or Spanish.
In the area of central-eastern Europe another collaboration initiative has developed, this time with the Polish State University Nicolò Copernico di Torun, the city of Copernicus. Here too the form of the Award was chosen - in this case called Ratio et spes,“Reason and Hope” - choosing a specific theme each year and selecting, with the collaboration of an international group of experts in the subject, a scientific article or two of particular value. The award ceremony takes place on the occasion of the National Science Day in Poland, which falls on February 19, so in 2020 the first award ceremony was managed just before the outbreak of the pandemic. The theme was “Artificial intelligence and its applications, the possibilities and questions it poses for today's humanity”. The work of a researcher from the famous MIT in Boston with his research group (T. Poggio, A. Bańburski, Q. Liao) was awarded. The theme of the second edition currently underway concerns the problems of the environment. The group of experts has already made the selection of the works and is now awaiting the decision of the Scientific Committee, which will be designated, according to the Statute, as soon as the new Rector of the University of Torun is elected. The fact that our Foundation has started a qualified cultural collaboration experience with a prestigious State University is highly appreciated by the Church in Poland.
In the last months of last year, the Foundation had also promoted, in collaboration with the Observer of the Holy See at the United Nations Organizations in Rome (FAO, IFAD, PAM), a series of seminars on the theme of "ethical leadership" in front of to current international problems. The first involved the participants in the Amazon Synod in the Atrium of the Paul VI Hall, the other two were held respectively at FAO and IFAD. A quarter had to be canceled due to the onset of the pandemic. In any case, the interventions of the speakers in the three seminars actually carried out had been of a high level (they were university professors, officials of international organizations, diplomats, etc.), so that their publication in a collective volume is in progress. which will be added to those of the Proceedings of International Symposia. A series of contacts is underway with pontifical universities and with the Francisco de Vitoria of Madrid in view of new future initiatives in this field.
While the initiatives of the Awards and publications, as well as the awarding of annual scholarships for PhD students, could continue despite the pandemic, what unfortunately had to be canceled is this year's International Symposium, which was planned in Beirut , and which had begun to prepare, between the end of last year and the beginning of this year, ten years after the Special Synod on the Middle East called by Benedict XVI, to reflect on the situation of the Church and Christians in the region, on the dialogue with Islam and the commitment to peace, in the light of the teaching and initiatives of the latest popes - John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis.
The choice of Beirut also had an evident meaning of solidarity with peoples and religious communities in very difficult situations. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the pandemic made it impossible to continue preparing. Added to this were the truly critical situation in Lebanon and the disaster of the explosion in the port of Beirut. We are truly very saddened. We hope in the future to be able to resume this initiative, not only for its cultural significance, but also for that of solidarity that we proposed.
Meanwhile, we have begun to work seriously in the hope of being able to organize an international symposium again in 2021. The planned location is a Catholic University in the United States. It would be the first time that the Foundation has promoted a Symposium in the United States and therefore on this occasion the theme would revolve around the theological thought of Ratzinger-Benedict XVI. We hope that the pandemic or other difficulties will not prevent us from carrying out this beautiful project.
Thanks for the attention.