CAPE TOWN – The Templeton Prize office of the John Templeton Foundation, based in Pennsylvania in the United States, this morning held a news conference with the 2013 Templeton Prize Laureate, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and Dr. John M. Templeton Jr., president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation.
Desmond Tutu was announced last week as the 2013 Templeton Prize Laureate for his lifelong work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness which have helped to liberate people around the world. His deep faith and commitment to prayer and worship provides the foundation for his message of love and forgiveness.
The prize, valued at £1.1 million (about $1.7 million or €1.3 million) – the world’s largest annual monetary award for the past 40 years – honors a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension. Tutu will receive the prize at a public ceremony at the Guildhall in London on Tuesday, May 21.
Archbishop Tutu said:
“I am fortunate because I am a good captain who had wonderful colleagues in the South African Council of Churches. People do not remember that when I was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the citation was to me and to the South African Council of Churches to thank the church community broadly and the faith community of non-Christian groups who allowed me to cooperate with them against the vicious system that oppressed all of us.”
“I want to thank the ordinary people – and there are no ordinary people in my theology – but I want to thank those whose names don’t usually appear in citations.”
“I think that 1994 and what happened some time after… made us the flavor of the month. The world really thought we were the cat’s whiskers. We can’t pretend we’ve remained the same. For goodness’ sake, recover the spirit which made us great.”
“One prays that we will recover the spirit of Ubuntu, the spirit saying I am because you are. We pray that South Africa will recover its own sense of worth of every single human being, recover our own Ubuntu, and become a generous, caring, compassionate society.”
“This is a substantial prize and one of the first questions you ask is what am I going to do with it? In our Bible, our Lord says don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. I’m certainly not going to want to hog it for myself… I will not disappoint.”
“We are creatures made for goodness, all of us. You don’t have to tell anyone the difference between someone who is compassionate and someone who is cruel.”
“What God intended for each of us is that we would be members of one human family. We are made for interdependence, made to live in an incredible dedicated web of interdependence. A world where I make up what is lacking in you and you make up what is lacking in me. When we break that fundamental law of being, then all kinds of things go horribly wrong. We certainly cannot survive in a society that is so thoroughly unequal and totally unsustainable.”
“God is good to us because we would not be able to survive. The Divine is hidden. It is your business, my business to see the Divine. It is up to you to look at a person and say, this is God.”
Dr. John M. Templeton, Jr. said:
“Forty years ago, my Father, Sir John Templeton, the late global investor and philanthropist, created the Templeton Prize. Sir John’s vision for the Prize has always fostered a pursuit of discovery, most especially in the seeking of new insights into the limitless potentials into the spirit.”
“It is Father Desmond’s deep faith, and his core commitment to prayer, worship, and the life of the Spirit – that has provided all of us with the foundation for his message of love and forgiveness. These core Christian principles have broken chains of hurt and pain and thereby continue to advance the spiritual liberation of people around the world.”
“We ask all of you to consider Father Desmond and his remarkable contributions as an inspiration for others to submit a worthy nominee for next year’s Templeton Prize.”
“We are most grateful to be in Cape Town today to celebrate the Templeton Prize in Africa and to pay homage to Father Desmond as a true entrepreneur of the spirit, committed to creating a society guided by the essential human values of love, hope, tolerance, and courage.”