Kielce, Poland/Prague, June 12 (CTK) – Czech theologian, philosopher and author Tomas Halik received the Per artem ad Deum prize that the Pontifical Council for Culture bestows for supporting the dialogue between cultures on Monday, Ilona Trnkova, director of the Czech Christian Academy, has told journalists.

Halik, a holder of the prestigious Templeton Prize, obtained the award for “attestation of the true belief, for his participation in the life of society and public attitudes against racial discrimination.”

The prize is presented during the festival Sacroexpo in the Polish town of Kielce.

The Pontifical Council for Culture, dubbed the Vatican culture ministry, was established by Pope John Paul II in 1982. It focuses on the church’s relations with the world of culture and science. It has been headed by Cardinal Giafranco Ravasi, with whom Halik had joint lectures in the past.

Halik, 69, is the author of many books and essays that have been translated into 18 languages including Chinese, Korean and Turkish, and have won numerous foreign awards.

In 2011, Halik won the best European theological book prize for 2009-2010.

In 2014, he was presented with the prestigious Templeton Prize for his exceptional contribution to affirming the spiritual dimension of life.

In his lecture called Recognising the Signs of Time, Halik called on the church dignitaries not to support authoritarian, populist and nationalist regimes in the postcommunist world which curb democratic freedoms, Trnkova said.

In Poland, 13 books by Halik have been published and he gained a number of decorations, including a Cross of Merit from the Polish president in 2012.

At the present festival Sacroexpo, there will be a presentation of the Polish edition of Halik’s latest book, dealing with atheism, he wrote along with the German author of spiritual literature Anselm Grun.

Last week, the book was launched with the Czech title the World Without God. Atheism As a Kind of Religious Experience.