Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 28 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Wenceslaus
home iconNews
line break icon

For the first time, the Ratzinger Prize is awarded to a non-theologian: the Orthodox composer Arvo Pärt


Osservatore Romano via AFP

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 11/21/17 - updated on 11/21/17

Beauty, the pontiff said, is a “privileged way to open ourselves to transcendence and encounter with God.”

Pope Francis received nearly 200 people in the Clementine Hall at the Vatican on November 18, 2017, on the occasion of the awarding of the 2017 Ratzinger Prize 2017 by the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Foundation. In the ceremony, the Supreme Pontiff emphasized the “urgency” of theological research and praised his role for Christian unity.

Three laureates were honored with the 2017 Ratzinger Prize: Catholic theologian and priest Karl-Heinz Menke, Lutheran theologian Theodor Dieter and Orthodox composer Arvo Pärt. They were accompanied by their families and loved ones as they received this prize from the hands of the pope.

Theological research, that is to say, the dialogue between faith and reason, is an “urgent and vital” necessity, Pope Francis said. Indeed, without this dialogue, faith cannot “incarnate in time,” he emphasized.

By also granting awards to believers from other Christian denominations, the Ratzinger Prize shows that “the truth of Christ is not for the soloists, but it is rather symphonic.” And it is by seeking and studying together that Christians “are forcefully drawn to full communion.” Thus, said the pope, “truth becomes a living source of ever closer ties of love.”

Beauty as a path to transcendence

For the first time, the Ratzinger Prize distinguished a non-theologian, the orthodox composer Arvo Pärt. This, according to Pope Francis, is perfectly aligned with the theological vision of Benedict XVI: beauty, the pontiff said, is a “privileged way to open ourselves to transcendence and encounter with God” Indeed, art allows for serenity and “elevation of the mind.”

In his address, Pope Francis wanted to share his “intense and affectionate thoughts” for the pope emeritus. “His prayer and his discreet and encouraging presence accompanies us,” he said. And his teaching remains “alive and precious to the Church.”

After the speech of the Supreme Pontiff, Arvo Pärt played his Pater Noster on a piano that had belonged to Benedict XVI during his pontificate. The Estonian musician composed this piece for the 60th jubilee of priesthood of the pope emeritus, celebrated in June 2011.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
Fr. Michael Rennier
The purpose of life according to J.R.R. Tolkien
crisis man
Marzena Devoud
Advice from 3 monks for overcoming acedia
Giovanna Binci
He’s autistic, she has Down syndrome, and they’re wonderfully hap...
Christ and the woman taken in adultery
Daniel Esparza
What Jesus wrote
Cathedral Duomo
Philip Kosloski
Will souls in Hell receive resurrected bodies?
J-P Mauro
Fr. Kapaun’s remains returned to Kansas after 70 years
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.