Religion Prize Given to Scottish Churchman, German Physicist

Religion Writer

The 1989 John M. Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion--the richest international prize of any kind--was jointly awarded Tuesday to a Scottish churchman who founded an ecumenical center and a German physicist-philosopher whose research has probed the relationships among physics, cosmology and theology.

Recipients of the $435,000 prize are the Very Rev. Lord MacLeod, 92, who established the Iona community off the coast of Scotland in the 1930s, and Prof. Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker, 76, who initiated discussions between natural scientists and theologians concerning the estrangement of their two disciplines.

American-born financier Sir John Marks Templeton, who announced the winners in New York, said the purpose of his interfaith award--given annually since 1972 as a religious counterpart to the Nobel prizes--”is to help millions of people in all nations to grow spiritually in their love . . . and understanding of God.”


Previous Templeton winners are Mother Teresa of Calcutta, evangelist Billy Graham and writer Alexander I. Solzenitsyn.

MacLeod, who now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, was recognized for founding the Iona community while serving as a parish pastor to impoverished shipbuilders in pre-World War II Glasgow. His vision of the church involved joining workers side by side with clergy to serve society through work, worship and prayer. Under his direction, clergy and laity rebuilt the ancient abbey of St. Columba on the Isle of Iona, making it into a pilgrimage center.

Von Weizsaecker taught at the German universities of Gottingen, Hamburg and Munich and directed the Max Planck Institute.