According to National Catholic Reporter, Pope Francis was awarded the European Charlemagne Prize for 2016 in recognition of his work toward global peace and cultural understanding. He is the second pontiff to receive the award, which is given by the German city of Aachen. The award, which dates back to 1950, honors “the most valuable contribution in the services of Western European understanding and work for the community.”
One of the reasons Pope Francis received this award was his address during his visit to France in November 2014. During this speech he called for “abandon[ing] the idea of a Europe which is fearful and self-absorbed, in order to revive and encourage a Europe of leadership, a repository of science, art, music, human values, and faith.”
While Pope Francis will be unable to travel to Germany to accept the award, the committee will send a representative to present the award in person to the pope. He joins the ranks of Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, and Pope John Paul II, who have also received this award.