Jesuit Father Brian E. Daley, a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, is one of two winners of the 2012 Ratzinger Prize sponsored by the Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) Vatican Foundation. Established in 2010 to promote studies in theology and philosophy, the prize is considered the “Nobel of Theology.”
“I was amazed when I was informed that I would receive this honor,” said Fr. Daley, who a historical theologian specializing in the early history of Christianity. “It’s a privilege and an honor for the Society.”
Fr. Daley and the other winner, Remi Brague, a French professor of the philosophy of European religions at Ludwig- Maximilian University in Munich, will receive their prize from Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on Oct. 20.
Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who heads the scholarly committee that selects the winners, called Fr. Daley “a great historian of patristic theology.” Cardinal Ruini also said Fr. Daley “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.”
Fr. Daley called his vocation a “wonderful blessing” and is grateful that he has been able to combine his priestly ministry with his academic interests and teaching career. Fr. Daley traced his interest in the early church fathers to a research paper during his freshman year at Fordham University in New York. It’s important to study the roots of the church to help us to understand today’s church, according to Fr. Daley.
Fr. Daley is the author and editor of numerous articles, books and publications, including “The Hope of the Early Church,” “On The Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies,” and “Gregory of Nazianzus.” He is also a consulting editor of the English edition of the magazine Communio, which then Cardinal Ratzinger co-founded in 2003.
In addition to teaching and writing, Fr. Daley serves as the executive secretary of the Catholic-Orthodox Consultation for North America.
Learn more about this year’s Ratzinger Prize at Catholic News Service, and listen to a podcast at the New York Province website to find out more about Fr. Daley’s research, current projects and life in the Society.