The ceremony to award the prizes was held in the morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, and the meeting with the Pope Emeritus took place in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, Pope Benedict XVI’s residence. The winners were accompanied by Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., President of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation.
The academics awarded are Professor Jean-Luc Marion and Professor Tracey Rowland, who were awarded the Prize in 2020 but were unable to attend the prize-giving ceremony due to the pandemic. This year’s prize winners are: Professor Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkowitz and Professor Ludger Schwienhorst-Schönberger.
During the meeting, which lasted an hour, each of the academics was able to present his/her work to Benedict XVI and talk with him. The audience, which included the presence of Monsignor Georg Gänswein, Benedict XVI’s Secretary, ended with the praying of the Hail Mary and the Blessing imparted by the Pope Emeritus, who gave each of them a medal and a Rosary.
“I am delighted that, after last year’s interruption, we can resume the fine tradition of this meeting,” Pope Francis said during the award presentation on Saturday. “The welcome participation of several personalities who received awards in previous years also shows that this act, as well as recognizing the high cultural merits of certain scholars and artists, establishes a lasting bond, a fruitful relationship for the presence and service of the Church in the world of culture.
“This Prize is rightly awarded in the name of my predecessor. It is therefore an opportunity for me, together with you, to address to him once again our affectionate, grateful, and admiring thoughts.”