New York, NY, May 27, 2010 … Citing his role in "building and deepening the new positive relationship between Catholic and Jews," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, with the ADL Cardinal Bea Interfaith Award.
The longtime personal secretary and friend to Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Dziwisz has been at the heart of Catholic-Jewish relations since the historic changes brought about during the Second Vatican Council and the adoption of Nostra Aetate, the landmark document that repudiated centuries of church-based anti-Semitism. Dziwisz heads Poland's Catholic-Jewish dialogue.
"Cardinal Dziwisz is a valued friend to the Jewish people and someone I know I can trust and turn to in moments of tension or controversy," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. "As an active participant in the major events in the history of Catholic-Jewish dialogue, he has been instrumental in building and deepening the new positive relationship between Catholics and Jews in Poland and around the world."
The award was presented to Cardinal Dziwisz on May 26 in Krakow as part of an ADL leadership delegation visit to Poland, where League leaders are accompanying an Israel Defense Forces mission on a Polish-Jewish heritage tour to sites associated with Jewish history and the Holocaust.
In accepting the award, Cardinal Dziwisz recalled Pope John Paul II's historic visit to Jerusalem in 2000 as a turning point on the path toward Catholic-Jewish reconciliation. He said the Catholic Church in Poland continues to work to ensure that process continues, and that Holocaust education and remembrance is emphasized within Polish society.
"As the Bishop of Krakow, I would like to assure all of you that the Catholic Church in Poland wants to follow the example of Pope John Paul II and courageously uncover and reject everything which makes the life of the Polish Catholics depart from the Gospel," Cardinal Dziwisz said. "For this reason, we note with shame that despite the unambiguous teachings of recent Popes on the appropriate attitudes of Catholics to Jews, many among us have not been able to overcome prejudices, inveterate resentments and harmful stereotypes."
The Cardinal added, "On the other hand … a solid foundation has been laid to educate our youth to be the guardians of remembrance for the Jewish world murdered by the German Nazis; the world which has existed for centuries in our hometowns, townships and villages."
Dziwisz is the founder of the Institute for Intercultural Dialogue in Krakow and recently led 300 Polish pilgrims to Israel on a mission to promote Catholic-Jewish ties.
In 1986, Cardinal Dziwisz accompanied Pope John Paul II during the first visit of the Bishop of Rome at the Synagogue of Rome. That same year he worked with the Pope at the first interfaith prayer meetings in Assisi. He also accompanied the Pope during his papal pilgrimage to Israel in 2000.
The ADL Cardinal Bea Interfaith Award was established to perpetuate the memory of Cardinal Bea, the enlightened German Jesuit scholar who deepened and enriched relations between Catholics and Jews. Cardinal Bea's efforts made possible the positive statement of the Vatican Council II on Jews and Judaism.
Past recipients of the award include John Cardinal O'Connor, Archbishop of New York; the Most Rev. Francis John Mugavero, Archbishop of Brooklyn; Sister Rose Thering; William Cardinal Keeler of Washington, D.C.; Archbishop Justin Cardinal Rigali of St. Louis; Archbishop Adam Cardinal Maida of Detroit; and Bishop James W. Malone of Youngstown, Ohio.