Ratzinger Prize Goes to a Woman for 1st Time

French Professor and Polish Priest Are Chosen for 2014 Award

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) Deborah Castellano Lubov | 1193 hits

The Ratzinger prize, referred to as the "Nobel of Theology," will for the first time this year recognize a woman theologian. It is also being awarded for the first time to a Polish theologian.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini announced today the award recipients as French professor Anne-Marie Pelletier, the prize’s first female winner, and Polish priest and scholar, Professor Waldemar Chrostowski, the first Polish winner. 

Jesuit Fr. Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, briefed journalists on the Ratzinger Prizes of 2014, to be awarded Nov. 22.

Professor Pelletier, 69, married with three children, is a scholar of hermeneutics and biblical exegesis who has also examined the role of women in Christianity. Having earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Paris and a licentiate in theology from the Catholic Institute of Paris, she currently teaches sacred Scripture and Hermeneutics Biblical Study at Paris’ Notre Dame Seminary.

Referring to Pelletier as “a most distinguished figure in contemporary French Catholicism," Cardinal Ruini said she “unites deserved scientific prestige and a great and versatile cultural liveliness with an authentic dedication to causes of the highest importance for Christian witness in society.”

The scholar has taught and published extensively, and is best known for her works in the field of hermeneutics and biblical exegesis and on the question of women in Christianity. Her research endeavors range from Christianity and Judaism, to the monastic world.

Monsignor Chrostowski, the first ever Polish winner, is a 63-year-old priest, biblicist and expert on Catholic-Jewish dialogue.

Cardinal Ruini explained that Msgr. Chrostowski, the general editor of the journal “Collectanea Theologica” and the president of the Association of Polish Biblicists, “unites scientific rigour with passion for the Word of God, service to the Church and engagement in interreligious dialogue.”

Before continuing his studies in Rome, where he would obtain a licentiate from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in 1981, Father Chrostowski, had earned his licentiate in theology from Poland’s Academy of Theology in 1977, one year after being ordained a priest.

Currently serving on the theology faculty at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University, prior, since 1987, he had been part of the theology faculty at the Academy of Warsaw, as well as at various other universities and seminaries. 

Promoting theology

The Ratzinger Prize is a monetary award for an amount of some $87,000. The Ratzinger Foundation, a charitable organization whose aim is "the promotion of theology in the spirit of Joseph Ratzinger," funds scholarships and bursaries for poorer students across the world. The charity makes most of its money from selling the writings of the Pope Emeritus.

The Ratzinger Prize was instituted by the foundation in 2010, when Pope Benedict XVI announced that it had decided to donate a sizable sum of money for the establishment of a sort of 'Nobel Prize in Theology,' as the president of the foundation's scientific commission had termed it. It is intended to recognize those who perform promising scholarly research relating to or expounding upon his work.

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