Joseph Weiler receives Ratzinger Prize at Vatican

On December 1, in a ceremony at the Vatican, Pope Francis awarded a 2022 Ratzinger Prize to Joseph H.H. Weiler, University Professor and Joseph Straus Professor of Law.

Joseph Weiler shaking hands with Pope Francis at Vatican ceremony
Joseph Weiler receives the Ratzinger Prize from Pope Francis.

Often called “the Nobel Prize in theology,” the Ratzinger Prize was launched in 2011 by Benedict XVI, who was known as Joseph Ratzinger before becoming pope. Each year the award is given to two scholars, of any faith, whose work has made significant contributions in the tradition of Ratzinger’s own theological scholarship. Recent recipients have included philosophers and artists as well as theologians.

Weiler focuses his research and teaching on issues of European integration, globalization, and democracy, as well as law and religion. He has published a range of articles and books on international, comparative, and European law, including Un’Europa Cristiana: Un saggio esplorativo, in which he argued that Europe’s Christian heritage should not be excluded from discussions of European integration. At NYU Law, he holds a regular seminar on The Trial of Jesus. 

In 2011, representing Italy and eight other countries pro bono, Weiler obtained a landmark ruling from the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights that upheld Italy’s right to display crucifixes in public school classrooms. In 2013, he received a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Italy’s highest civilian honor.

Weiler is co-director of NYU Law’s Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice, former president of the European University Institute (EUI), and senior fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University. He holds a BA from the University of Sussex, an LLB and LLM from Cambridge University, and a diploma of international law from The Hague Academy of International Law. He earned his PhD in European law at EUI.

Weiler served as a member of the Committee of Jurists of the Institutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, co-drafting the European Parliament's Declaration of Human Rights and Freedoms and Parliament’s input to the Maastricht Inter-intergovernmental Conference. A WTO and NAFTA panelist, he is a founding editor of the European Journal of International Law, the European Law Journal, and the World Trade Review.

Posted December 13, 2022. Photo credit: Vatican Media