(Vatican Radio) On April 16th Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI celebrates his 90th Birthday which this year falls on Easter Sunday. For this milestone event the Pope Emeritus has received countless birthday greetings and there has even been a new book of essays by Ratzinger Prize-winning theologians published to mark the occasion.
One of the contributors to this volume entitled Cooperatores veritatis: Tributes to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI on his 90th Birthday, is the Rev Canon Professor Richard Burridge who was awarded the Ratzinger Prize in 2013.
The Dean of Kings College London and Minister in the Anglican Communion received the honour for his contribution to the historical and theological recognition of the Gospels' inseparable connection to Jesus of Nazareth.
He spoke to Lydia O’Kane about the impact of the Pope Emeritus as a theologian, his commitment to ecumenical dialogue and the courage and intellect of the man.
“I first met Pope Benedict”, says Burridge, just after he became Pope in 2005… and it was clear that he is certainly is a man of courage and intellect. The Ratzinger Prize winner goes on to say that he has also been “very impressed with his commitment both to the Bible and to Jesus Christ.
The Rev Canon was the first non- Catholic to be awarded the Ratzinger Prize and commends Benedict’s contribution to ecumenical dialogue, saying, “it’s been very important…particularly because of his personal friendships with other theologians.”
So as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI celebrates his 90th Birthday, is this a chance for scholars to re-evaluate his work? In Prof Burridge’s opinion, it does, but he also says that with the work that the Ratzinger Foundation is doing through conferences and the promotion of his work, “it’s bringing on a whole generation of new scholars to do further research.”
The King’s College Dean also notes that this Pope wrote on a vast number of areas "over a number of decades and his ideas grew and changed and developed through that period as well, and it seems to me that his impact will be both through his own work but also very much through the kind of work that he did originally in the 1960’s with the Vatican Second Council…”