April 30, 2010 – Washington – AJC presented its prestigious Isaiah Interreligious Award to Cardinal Walter Kasper for his longstanding commitment to Jewish-Catholic dialogue and leadership in advancing understanding between the two faiths. The award, honoring extraordinary achievement in interreligious affairs, was presented at the concluding session of AJC’s 2010 Annual Meeting.
“I am deeply moved by this high distinction and I cannot but express my deep gratitude to AJC for the honor conferred upon me as a German, as a Catholic theologian and as President of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Jews,” said Kasper. “I am deeply grateful that I have been able to contribute to making a difference in relations between our two communities and to a healing process of the deep wounds inherited from the past.”
Kasper, who is retiring this year, has been the point-person for the Vatican and its relations with the Jewish people for the last decade, a role he said was “not merely a duty, but rather a personally engaging and fulfilling task.” He also played a central role in the establishment of bilateral relations, initiated by Pope John Paul II, between the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See.
"Cardinal Kasper has made some of the most far-reaching statements regarding the Catholic Church and Judaism, has firmly opposed attempts to proselytize Jews and has been a champion in the struggle against anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism," said Rabbi Rosen, AJC's International Director of Interreligious Affairs, who presented the award.
Catholics and Jews together “have embarked on a vision of a world without anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism,” said Kasper. “We strive together to make a difference in the world, working for the good of our children and the children of our children so that atrocities such as the Holocaust can never happen again.”