U.S. Jesuit, French philosopher win Ratzinger Prize

VATICAN CITY - The Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, established to promote studies in theology and philosophy, will award one of its two major prizes this year to U.S. Jesuit Father Brian E. Daley, a patristics expert and professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame.

The other prize winner is Remi Brague, a French professor of the philosophy of European religions at Ludwig- Maximilian University in Munich.

The two will receive their prize from Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican Oct. 20.

Announcing the recipients of the 50,000 euro (about $64,620) cash prize, retired Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini said that "unfortunately," Father Daley, 72, is not as well known in Italy as Brague is.

Calling Father Daley "a great historian of patristic theology," Cardinal Ruini also said, "he has published an impressive - and I mean incredible - number of scientific articles on patristic theology, but also studies on the life and spirituality of the Society of Jesus, as well as on theological and ecumenical themes of current interest."

In addition to teaching and writing, Father Daley serves as the executive secretary of the Catholic-Orthodox Consultation for North America.

The Jesuit is the author of "The Hope of the Early Church," "On The Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies," and "Gregory of Nazianzus," a volume in the series "The Early Church Fathers." He also was the English translator of Hans Urs von Balthasar's "Cosmic Liturgy: the Universe According to Maximus the Confessor."

Brague, the other prize winner, is a married father of four children who taught at the Sorbonne in Paris for 20 years, and moved to Munich in 2002. He has been a visiting professor at Pennsylvania State University, Boston College and Boston University.

His books include: "Eccentric Culture," "The Wisdom of the World," "The Law of God," "The Legend of the Middle Ages," and "On the God of the Christians."

The Vatican foundation funding the prize, as well as scholarships for promising doctoral students, was established in 2010 with Pope Benedict's approval and his designation of just more than $3 million from royalties earned on his books (the rest of his royalties are given to charity).

The prize winners were chosen by the foundation's scientific committee: Cardinal Ruini; Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state; Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes; Archbishop Luis Ladaria, secretary of the doctrinal congregation; and Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 1970