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6th PPC Young Theological Essay Prize

The award ceremony for former student Inés Fernández took place at our University and was attended by professors from the Faculty of Theology

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The event was attended by the Global Director of PPC and Theology Professors

23 April 2024

Last Monday, 22 April, the 6th PPC Young Theological Essay Prize was awarded to Inés Fernández de Gamboa, a former student of the Faculty of Theology at Comillas.

Her prize-winning work is entitled "Guided by the Spirit. Christian spirituality in dialogue with today's world", which will be published by Editorial PPC.

In addition to the winner, the event was attended by the Professors of the Faculty of Theology, Carmen Márquez, PhD, Head of Studies of the TUP Programme, and Dr. Fernando Millán, PhD, Director of the Institute of Spirituality at Comillas, and by the Global Director of PPC, Pedro Miguel García.

In her presentation, Professor Carmen Márquez underlined the joy of Comillas Pontifical University in hosting this event, especially because she is a former student of the Faculty of Theology in the degree of Specialisation in Biblical Spirituality, and in the framework of relations with the Publishing House itself, where her link with our Faculty enhances the pastoral mission of both parties. The Global Director of PPC, Pedro Miguel García, commented, in addition to the reason for the Prize, which seeks to encourage critical theological thinking among young people, the task of this initiative: to bring theology closer to the public. After the reading of the Prize's decision by the PPC Editorial Director, Francisco Javier Navarro, the Global Director Pedro Miguel García presented the Prize to the laureate Inés Fernández.

For her part, Inés Fernández identified her Prize as part of the path of love and growth in the Spirit, which is precisely reflected in its title, and which aims to contribute to extending God's Love in this world.

After receiving the Award, a shared dialogue followed. Professor Fernando Millán placed at the centre of his speech the words balance and tension, which the award-winning author herself develops, and which presents Christianity always under tension towards the best. He also affirmed that Inés Fernández's work contains a "heartbeat of tension", which confronts crucial themes for Christian spirituality in a solid and, therefore, open way. Afterwards, Professor Millán focused on the section of the work on the non-synonymity between spirituality and interiority. The same author confirmed this perception of our Professor, corroborating the strength of a good theological basis which, always in relation, opens up to deep spirituality.

On the other hand, Professor Márquez proposed the theme of the criteria for speaking of a good spirituality, which the author deals with in her work. Inés Fernández, for her part, related spirituality to reality, leading towards it from the Ignatian relational key of contemplatives in action. The maritime proposal, the winner explained, helps to understand what coordinates are necessary to orientate life from faith. The integrity of the person, Inés pointed out, is the basic postulate of her proposal, and she was challenged to talk about dynamics such as yoga or mindfulness. Do they have a place in Christian spirituality? This question and many others are answered in the book. In this sense, Professor Millán related Inés' proposal from the perspective of effectiveness and affectivity.

The key to Ignatian discernment not only serves to avoid self-deception in the spiritual life, the author points out, but also to dialogue with reality, avoiding both syncretism and traditionalism. The second part focuses on Christian spirituality in dialogue. This helped Professor Millán to present the Christian as a mediator in the midst of tension and division. Inés, for her part, reminded us that we must not only save our personal identity, but also that of our neighbours, especially in the manifestation of their intentions of goodwill.

Professor Márquez asked the laureate how to go about helping people to rediscover the whole tradition, history and strength of Christian spirituality. Inés Fernández proposed the key of mindfulness to recognise God and neighbour, with witness as the cornerstone of the Christian proposal. Professor Millán pointed out that the author presents a pastoral approach to spirituality, especially so that theology always helps the people of God.

Theology without spirituality leads to the loss of the essence of theology itself. Likewise, a spirituality without structure, morality and proposal, Fernando Millán pointed out, is a common risk nowadays.

Professor Márquez mentioned an interesting aspect of Inés Fernández's work: the ecclesial dimension of spirituality. For her part, the author confirmed that the Christian faith is a faith of communion, and this is a coordinate for spirituality.

The award ceremony of the 6th PPC Young Theologian Award to Inés Fernández Gamboa is available on the YouTube channel of Editorial PPC:

All the latest news from the Faculty of Theology can be found on the website, in the monthly newsletter and on the social network X (formerly Twitter).

Photographs by © Jesús G. Feria.

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