ADL Honors Dr. Eugene Fisher For His Landmark Contributions To Catholic-Jewish Relations
Washington, DC, April 29, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today honored Dr. Eugene Fisher with its distinguished ADL Dr. Joseph L. Lichten Award in Catholic-Jewish Relations. Presented during the League's annual Shana Amy Glass National Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., the award recognizes Dr. Fisher's pioneering role in helping to promote and further dialogue between Catholics and Jews.
Dr. Fisher, the Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is a layperson and the only full-time professional in charge of Catholic-Jewish relations in the United States. For the last 30 years, he has been a central figure in the implementation of Nostra Aetate, the part of the Second Vatican Council's reforms that forever changed the nature of the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community.
"Gene Fisher has been ahead of his time – time and time again – on the many social, political, and theological issues facing Catholics and Jews as we worked to reconcile after a tragic 2,000-year history," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "His dedicated efforts over the past three decades have left us with a series of invaluable materials for the work of reconciliation between Catholics and Jews." (full remarks)
Dr. Fisher has lectured widely throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Australia. He has published 20 books and monographs, and more than 250 articles in major religious journals, many of which have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish and German for publication in Latin America and Europe.
He has participated in countless interfaith programs in the U.S., Israel and the Vatican and worked closely with ADL and the League's Director of Interfaith Affairs Emeritus, Rabbi Leon Klenicki, to pioneer interfaith educational projects. Dr. Fisher helped to develop teaching materials about the Jewish roots of Christianity and the need for Catholics to confront the anti-Semitism embedded in church life: through its liturgy, history, Passion Plays, seminary training and Bible study.
In accepting the award, Dr. Fisher said, "In 30 years much has indeed changed, and I am glad to have been a part of it. Nostra Aetate worked. All generations of Catholics – almost two now – have been raised differently."
The ADL Joseph L. Lichten Award in Catholic-Jewish Relations was established in 2005 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate and Vatican II. The first award was presented 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, 2005.
The Award is named in honor of Joseph Lichten, ADL's longtime 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.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.