Czech priest is winner of £1.1m Templeton Prize
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.”