Citing his role as an “unambiguous champion of Jewish-Catholic relations,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, with the ADL Cardinal Bea Interfaith Award.
The award was presented to Cardinal Dolan during the ADL New York Regional Office’s annual Interfaith Seder where Catholic and Jewish middle school students from two New York City schools come together to experience a traditional Passover Seder, and learn about the Exodus story in each of the respective faiths.
“Throughout his career, Cardinal Dolan has made tremendous strides in bringing together people of all faiths,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “His work in interfaith relations over the years has been invaluable, and it was always clear that the relationship between the Jewish community and the Catholic Church was not merely part of his duties, but rather a personal priority. His contributions to fostering such an incredible atmosphere of togetherness and cooperation have been so instrumental to both of our communities.”
In presenting the award, Mr. Foxman referred to Cardinal Dolan as an “unambiguous champion of Jewish-Catholic relations” and discussed his unequivocal support of the Jewish community in times of need, adding that the archbishop of New York has served as a “clarion voice of support when the Jewish community has been threatened or attacked.”
Upon receiving the award, Cardinal Dolan said he was “immensely grateful” to be honored by ADL, and reflected on the importance of the Catholic and Jewish students working to understand each other’s faith and traditions at the event.
“This is the icing on the cake for me everybody – to see everyone together from the Epiphany and Schechter schools, enjoying one another, making friends, and sharing our traditions,” Cardinal Dolan said. “I’m grateful to be a Catholic, I’m grateful to have so many Jewish friends, I’m grateful for an experience like this, I’m grateful for the Cardinal Bea Award, and I’m grateful that you and I live in the United States of America, because there’s not too many countries in the world where something like this could happen.”
Students from The Epiphany School and Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan were present for ADL’s honoring of Cardinal Dolan and made several presentations on different components of the Passover holiday.
As Moderator of Jewish Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2009 to 2010, Cardinal Dolan significantly advanced the relationship between the Jewish community and the Catholic Church and consistently found ripe moments for dialogue, solidarity, and collaboration. Cardinal Dolan frequently stressed the importance of dignity and respect for all, and the meaning and importance of Catholics standing side by side with Jews in ensuring that genocide never happens again.
ADL leaders have been privy to numerous audiences with the archbishop, including in 2010 at the Pontifical North American College seminary in Rome where Cardinal Dolan served as rector for seven years. He engaged ADL leaders in a wide-ranging discussion on the various challenges and opportunities facing interfaith dialogue in the United States and around the world.
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 the Catholic Church and the Jewish people. Cardinal Bea’s efforts made possible the positive statement of the Vatican Council II on Jews and Judaism. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Vatican II and Nostra Aetate, a document that revolutionized the Catholic Church’s approach to Jews and Judaism after nearly 2000 years of pain and sorrow.
Past recipients of the award include:
2010 – Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Krakow, Poland
2008 – Cardinal William Keeler, Baltimore, MD
2005 – Sister Rose Thering, New Jersey
2001 – Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee, WI
1998 – Archbishop Justin Francis Rigali, St. Louis, MO
1995 – Cardinal Adam Maida, Detroit. MI
1992 – Bishop James Malone, Youngstown, OH
1989 – Archbishop Francis John Mugavero, New York, NY
1985 — Archbishop John O’Connor, New York, NY
1984 — Cardinal Bernard Law, Boston, MA