New York, NY, December 20, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) presented its first Dr. Joseph L. Lichten Award in Catholic-Jewish Relations to Walter Cardinal Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and President of the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations with the Jews, in Rome, on December 15.
"Cardinal Kasper is an accomplished theologian, a distinguished professor, prolific author, a gifted scholar, a man of peace with an almost legendary ability to see all sides of a problem," Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director said in presenting the award. "Cardinal Kasper has actively worked to build bridges between Jews and the Catholic Church."
As the fourth President of the Commission on Religious Relations with the Jews, Walter Cardinal Kasper has distinguished himself as a thoughtful theologian and a true friend of the Jewish Community. He has published widely on critical issues of import to the Catholic-Jewish dialogue, especially on issues concerning the Covenant and understanding the New Testament in light of the Jewish experience of Jesus and his followers.
Cardinal Kasper said, "I am deeply moved and I cannot do otherwise than to express my deep gratitude to the Anti-Defamation League for this honor. … I understand this award as an obligation to work even more for overcoming prejudice and defamation, for better mutual understanding and solidarity between Jews and Christians and for the realization of the values they stand for, for justice and shalom."
ADL's Dr. Joseph L. Lichten Award in Catholic-Jewish Relations was established in 2005 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, part of the Second Vatican Council's reforms that changed the nature of the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community. The Award is named in honor of Joseph Lichten, ADL's Director of Catholic-Jewish Relations, who was present throughout the deliberations of Vatican II and was one of the significant figures in the history of the Second Vatican Council.