The fourth edition of the Ratzinger Prize was celebrated in the morning of Saturday 22nd November 2014, in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace (Vatican City). This year, the prize was given to Anne-Marie Pelletier, French professor of Sacred Scriptures and Biblical hermeneutics at the Notre Dame Faculty of the Seminary of Paris, and to Waldemar Chrostowski, Polish professor of Exegesis of the Old Testament and of Theology at the Theology Faculty of the Academy of Warsaw. Due to his obligations, Pope Francis asked cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and editor of the Opera Omnia by Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, to represent him and to make the speech.
Cardinal Müller reminded that: “the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is particularly close to Joseph Ratzinger, not only because he guided the Congregation for more than 23 years, but also because the Congregation has the aim to promote and defend the doctrine of the faith. The rich theology of the Pope emeritus has been very useful to this purpose, because he has highlighted the power and the beauty of Christian doctrine”. As the prefect remembered “Joseph Ratzinger has been defined as the ‘Mozart of theology’. Cardinal Müller expressed “ the deep gratitude of the Church to Benedict XVI for his unceasing work as a scholar and a master of the science of God”. Finally the Cardinal repeated the words Pope Francis had said during the celebration of the Ratzinger Prize 2013, when he affirmed that “Pope Benedict has donated his most precious gift to the Church: his knowledge of Jesus, as a result of many years of research, theological debate and prayers. It is because Benedict XVI made theology on his knees”.
In his opening speech, Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, president of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, made reference to the concepts of parrhesia, courage, will to go on, hope and noted that “it is the spiritual description of the two people we have in front of us. They demonstrated that it is true that “love brings intellect in man’s life as a mother helps her children for their future” as Methol Ferré has said. “Jesus Christ represents our guide from time to time” “Pelletier and Chrostowski helped the youth to find Christ again”.
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Scientific Committee of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, described the profiles of the two scholars: “Anne-Marie Pelletier, expert of hermeneutics and biblical exegesis, dedicated her research to the theme of women in Christianity. “She is the first lady to receive the prize” said the Cardinal. “Pelletier is a distinguished figure in contemporary French Catholicism”, commented Cardinal Ruini, “with deserved scientific prestige, a great and versatile cultural liveliness and an authentic dedication to causes of the highest importance for Christian witness in society”. Prof. Waldemar Chrostowski has always fostered the popularization of the Bible through spiritual exercises, training courses and pilgrimages. He is also engaged in Catholic-Jewish and Polish-Jewish dialogue. He combines scientific rigour with passion for the Word of God, service to the Church and engagement in interreligious dialogue”. He is the first Polish that received the Ratzinger Prize.
Among the participants to the celebration there were bishops and cardinals, the Dean of the College of Cardinals Angelo Sodano, the Scientific Committee and the Board of Directors of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation and many scholars that received the Prize in the previous years.