|Founded||21 December 2007|
|Key people||President Giuseppe Antonio Scotti,
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, head of the scientific committee,
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn
|Mission||the promotion of theology in the spirit of Joseph Ratzinger|
Papst Benedikt XVI.-Stiftung (German),
The Ratzinger Foundation, also known as The Pope Benedict XVI Foundation, is a charitable organization whose aim is "the promotion of theology in the spirit of Joseph Ratzinger." which it achieves by funding scholarships and bursaries for poorer students across the world. The foundation was launched on the initiative of former students (including 16 professors) of Joseph Ratzinger in December 2007.
The foundation makes much of its money from the selling of Pope Benedict XVI's writings. In 2007, £1.6 million was raised for the charity by the selling of Pope Benedict's biography on Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.
The charity also receives private donations and has close links with the Ratzinger Circle of Alumni (Ratzinger Schülerkreis), a group of theology students who, at doctoral and post-doctoral level, studied under the tutorship of then Professor Ratzinger. The Circle was formed after Ratzinger was elevated to the position of Archbishop of Munich.
The Ratzinger Prize
At the 2010 meeting, it was announced that Pope Benedict XVI had decided to donate a sizable sum of money for the establishment of a sort of 'Nobel Prize in Theology' (as Camillo Ruini called it) in recognition of those who perform promising scholarly research relating to or expounding upon his work; it was named the Ratzinger Prize, and each winner will receive a check for $87,000. The Prize is awarded in three areas: Sacred Scripture study, patristics and fundamental theology.
On Thursday, 30 June 2011 Benedict XVI presented the three inaugural prizes to the winners in a ceremony at the papal residence, the Apostolic Palace, in the Vatican:
- Reverend Professor Olegario González de Cardedal, a Spanish priest and Professor specializing in Dogmatic and Fundamental Theology at the Pontifical University of Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain;
- Reverend Professor Maximilian Heim, O.Cist. was born as Heinrich Josef Heim in Kronach on 14 April 1961. He earned his master in theology at the University of Vienna in 1987 and was ordained a priest at Heiligenkreuz in 1988. In 2003 Heim earned his PhD concentrating on the ecclesiology of cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. He went on to teach fundamental theology at the University of Heiligenkreuz. The awarded work is called Joseph Ratzinger: Life in the Church and Living Theology: Fundamentals of Ecclesiology. He is abbot of Heiligenkreuz monastery in Austria.
- Professor Manlio Simonetti was born in Rome on 2 May 1926. In June 1947 he completed his classical studies at the Sapienza University of Rome – where he became professor for Christian history in 1969. He is respected as an expert in Ancient Christian Studies and Patristic Biblical Interpretation. He is a member of the Accademia dei Lincei.
On Saturday, 28 September 2012, it was announced that the 2012 winners of the Ratzinger Prize were:
- Reverend Professor Brian E. Daley, S.J., an American Jesuit who is Catherine F. Huisking Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. He is a graduate of Fordham University and a Rhodes Scholar who entered the Society of Jesus in 1964 and was ordained to the presbyterate in 1970. He currently serves as executive secretary of the Catholic-Orthodox Consultation for North America.
- Professor Rémi Brague, a French professor emeritus of medieval Arabic Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, and is professor of philosophy or religion at the Ludwig- Maximilian University in Munich. He is married and has four children.
On Friday, June 21, 2013, the 2013 winners were announced:
- Reverend Professor Richard A. Burridge, Dean of King's College London
- Professor Christian Schaller