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Anglican Dean of King’s College wins Ratzinger Prize

The prize is funded by the royalties from Benedict XVI's books (Photo: CNS)

The 2013 Ratzinger Prize for Theology will be given to an Anglican minister and to the lay German theology professor who is helping publish the complete works of Joseph Ratzinger-Pope Benedict XVI.

The Rev Richard Burridge, an Anglican professor of New Testament studies at King’s College, London, is the first non-Catholic to receive the prize. The other winner, Christian Schaller, is vice director of the Benedict XVI Institute in Regensburg, Germany, which is publishing critical editions of the pope’s writings.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the scientific committee of a foundation established to promote the study of the retired pope’s theological work, announced the prize winners during a Vatican press conference. The event also included the announcement on plans for a three-day conference in Rome in October to focus on the retired pope’s Jesus of Nazareth books.

The theology prize and conference, along with scholarships, are funded by the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Foundation, which the pope established in 2010 using royalties from the sale of his books.

Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, head of the Vatican Library and Vatican Secret Archives, is organising the October symposium. He told reporters he had no indication of whether the retired pope would participate in the symposium or present the theology prize to the winners, as he had done before retiring in February.

Fr Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters he was “immensely happy” Pope Benedict was able to complete the third and final volume of “Jesus of Nazareth” before retiring, “because it wasn’t a given”.

“I think he also was happy,” Fr Lombardi said. “He wanted to complete it and give it to us as a kind of theological spiritual testament.”

Fr Lombardi said the October conference and the simple fact that “people continue to reflect on the books are a great service for the Church”.