Anthony Valle, Adjunct Professor of Theology at Ave Maria University, was awarded the Ratzinger Foundation 2014-2015 academic scholarship. A maximum of five scholarships are awarded annually to doctoral students working on dissertations in theology, patristics and scripture. Valle was one of two Americans awarded the 2014-2015 scholarship; he is joined by scholars from Chile, Benin and Congo.
“I was delighted to receive notification that I was awarded the scholarship,” Valle said. “Given that the aim and mission of the Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger-Benedetto XVI is not to promote the thought and work of Joseph Ratzinger in particular, but more generally to promote theological scientific research in all its aspects, I thought they might exclude me from the get-go since my dissertation is specifically on Ratzinger.” Fortunately for Valle, the fact that his doctoral dissertation is on Ratzinger’s Logos doctrine did not preclude him from being considered for the generous scholarship.
The Ratzinger Foundation has three main objectives: first, to promote theological research of a high scientific nature; second, to conduct, carry out and organize academic conferences dealing with timely theological topics; and third, to recognize well-known academics and scholars for their contribution to theology (an award known as the “Ratzinger Prize”). An unofficial fourth objective of the Foundation is the awarding of scholarships (borse di studio) to young scholars working on doctoral dissertations in theology, patristics and scripture.
Valle said he plans to use the scholarship funds to aid him in the task of completing his dissertation. The financial assistance will give him the means to access books and articles, attend conferences and make the occasional research trip to Europe. “It will enable me to buy books,” Valle explained, “without the usual trouble and difficulty, for example, of having to spend hours upon hours of photocopying. No pun intended, but it buys me time.” The funds will also be spent on things as mundane as paying the bills.
Presumably, the Foundation is funded in part by the royalties collected from Ratzinger’s published works. If that is the case, Valle joked, then “Pope Benedict XVI’s colossal brain power is paying my electricity bill!
Valle is a member of the Neuer Schülerkreis Joseph Ratzinger-Papst Benedikt XVI, a group which consists of current professors and doctoral students who are working on topics related to Joseph Ratzinger. They are an ancillary part of the original Schülerkreis, a group of former doctoral students of Ratzinger himself, and participate in an annual academic symposium with Pope Benedict in Castel Gandolfo and the Vatican.
Valle’s academic interests include Christology-soteriology and mystical-ascetical theology. He is a candidate for the S.T.D. degree in dogmatic theology at the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce in Rome. He holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in Liberal Studies-Great Books, an M.A. from Columbia University in English and Comparative Literature, an M.A. from St. Joseph’s Seminary in dogmatic theology, and an S.T.L. from the Pontificio Ateneo Regina Apostolorum in dogmatic theology.