“All award is a shared merit; it transcends the person himself,” Blanco-Sarto said, according to a written statement from the University of Navarra.
Nominees for the award must get approval from the pope to make the short list.
While Pope Francis, 86, ordinarily presents each award personally, this year the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, 68, plans to do so instead, later this month.
The foundation was founded in 2007 by former students of Ratzinger when he was a theology professor in Germany from 1958 to 1977.
In 2010, then-Pope Benedict donated money to the foundation to create what one cardinal called a kind of “Nobel prize in theology.”
The Ratzinger Prize is awarded yearly to two or three people. Most are Catholic theologians. But winners have included a Church of England biblical scholar, a Lutheran theologian, a Swiss Catholic architect, an Eastern Orthodox musician from Estonia, and a Jewish law professor from South Africa who teaches in New York.