Czech priest is win­ner of £1.1m Tem­ple­ton Prize

The Church of England - - NEWS -

in­tel­lec­tual and spir­i­tual base for the demo­cratic state he en­vi­sioned.

Pre­vi­ous win­ners in­clude Arch­bishop Des­mond Tutu in 2013 and the Dalai Lama in 2012; a list that Mgr Prof Halík says makes him feel very hum­ble.

“Be­com­ing a Tem­ple­ton Prize win­ner is a great test of hu­mil­ity,” he added, when look­ing at this ex­ten­sive list of names that he has ‘for years ad­mired’.

He be­lieves the role of the Church is to reach those who seek faith, rather than just those who are com­mit­ted to or­gan­ised re­li­gion.

Blind faith and mil­i­tant athe­ism share sim­i­lar­i­ties, the the­olo­gian ar­gued, in that both were naive.

It is right to ques­tion what we be­lieve: “we should not doubt our doubts”.

“I think for those who read the Bi­ble, it doesn’t come as a sur­prise that God loves those who wres­tle with him.”

This in­cli­na­tion to ques­tion and delve deeper into spir­i­tu­al­ity is one com­mended by the Tem­ple­ton Foun­da­tion.

The son of Sir John Tem­ple­ton, John Tem­ple­ton Jnr, recog­nised sim­i­lar­i­ties with his fa­ther and this year’s win­ner, say­ing he bet the Czech priest also ‘went to bed with two ques­tions and woke up with an­other two ques­tions’.

He said: “The essence of his vi­sion is what Sir John sum­ma­rized as ‘Spir­i­tual Progress’. Sir John en­vi­sioned that the Prize would iden­tify ‘en­trepreneurs of the spirit’ – those who de­vote their tal­ents to ex­pand­ing our vi­sion of the in­tan­gi­ble and deeper re­al­i­ties of hu­man pur­pose and ul­ti­mate re­al­ity.”

Speak­ing at the an­nounce­ment of 2014’s win­ner last week, Mgr Prof Halík spoke of his con­cern about Putin’s ‘very, very dan­ger­ous’ in­volve­ment in Crimea.

He be­lieves that the Rus­sian leader has ‘im­pe­ri­al­is­tic dreams’, to re­new the for­mer Soviet Em­pire.

The an­swer is a ‘strong, united Europe’, he said, which would be the first time in his­tory this re­sponse could deal with such a threat.

“There is a unique chance, we need a united Europe,” he ar­gued, “with­out be­ing in­flu­enced by na­tional ego­tism.”

He fin­ished his ac­cep­tance mes­sage by pledg­ing: “In the rest of my life I would like to do small things that would look to bring light to people in our war, so help me God.”

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