Notre Dame University professor of Theology, Jesuit Father Brian Edward Daly, has been announced as one of two winners of the 2012 Ratzinger Prize in Theology.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini told the Catholic News Agency, “Fr. Daley is a great historian of patristic theology, but also a man entirely committed to the life and mission of the Church, an exemplary model of the fusion of academic rigor with passion for the Gospel.”

Daley is the Catherine F. Huisking Professor of Theology at Notre Dame University, in Indiana. He studied at Fordham, Oxford, and Frankfurt and was ordained a priest of the Society of Jesus in 1970.

His career as a teacher began in 1978 when he taught historical theology at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA, before moving to Notre Dame in 1996.

Daley is active in the field of ecumenism, particularly relations between Catholics and Orthodox. He currently serves as the executive secretary of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation.

He is also the author of “The Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology” and has edited an anthology of texts of Jesuit spirituality entitled “Companions in the Mission of Jesus.” He is also a contributor to the English edition of Communio magazine, which was founded in 1972 by, amongst others, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri De Lubac and Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

This is the second year the Ratzinger Prize has been awarded. It is already being referred to as the “Nobel Prize in Theology,” according to the CNA. The award aims to “promote the publication, distribution and study of the writings of former university professor Joseph Ratzinger.”

French philosopher Rémi Brague is also a winner this year. Ruini described the lay scholar as “a true philosopher and, at the same time, a great historian of cultural thought who unites a profound and unequivocal Christian and Catholic faith to his speculative ability and historical vision.”

Daley and Brague will be honoured on 20th October 2012, during the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization. They will both also be awarded with $64,600.

Rev. Brian E. Daley, S.J.Matt Cashmore