A column in yesterday's Style section incorrectly reported that the American Cardinals Dinner, sponsored by Catholic University of America, would be held Friday. It is scheduled for Jan. 18. (Published 11/22/90)

Amilcar Mendez Urizar, who has dedicated his life to the well-being of Guatemala's Indian population, received the $30,000 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award yesterday before a full house of Kennedys and others at Georgetown University's Gaston Hall.

Ethel Kennedy, widow of Robert Kennedy, presented the award after Sen. Ted Kennedy noted that five members of Mendez's group, known as We Are All Equal, have been killed since Mendez gave up the safety of exile in Canada to return to a countryside dominated by an army hostile to him and his cause. Mendez said, "I am one like many others in Guatemala, acting in defense of human rights." He said threats against him and his organization have increased since the announcement of his selection for the award. Mendez plans to return to his post.

Wildmon vs. NEA

The Rev. Donald Wildmon and the group he heads, the American Family Association, filed suit Monday in Philadelphia against Julianne Davis, general counsel for the National Endowment for the Arts, on charges of slander. The suit stems from remarks allegedly made by Davis after an Oct. 24 speech she gave at the University of Pennsylvania law school regarding Wildmon's role in the ongoing NEA funding debate. In a statement from the AFA, Davis is quoted as saying that Wildmon and his group want "the elimination of democracy, elimination of public schools, {and} advocates that astrologers, adulterers, blasphemers, homosexuals, and incorrigible children be executed, preferably by stoning." The suit describes the remarks as "an utter fabrication" and "malicious slander." An NEA source says that the words were not Davis's but were from a secondary source and were read aloud by her. The office of the general counsel for the NEA had no comment on the lawsuit.

Pecuniary Proverbs A 16th-century book of proverbs by Desiderius Erasmus that traced the history of famous sayings such as "God helps those who help themselves" sold at auction yesterday for $975,000.

The volume, printed in 1523, was the personal copy of the Dutch humanist scholar and contains more than 2,500 lines of his annotations and revisions.

The book was sold at Sotheby's in London by an anonymous collector in Europe and bought for another European collector by Nico Israel, an Amsterdam dealer.

By the time Erasmus died in 1536 his proverbs had swelled from 818 in the first edition of his works dated 1500 to more than 4,000 in the 10th edition.

"The book became a key work of the Renaissance and every scholar had to have a copy," said Sotheby's manuscript expert, Susan Wharton.

"Erasmus's idea of jotting down aphorisms, maxims, proverbs and witty sayings, which he instructed his pupils to follow, has persisted to our own time," she said.

Piscopo's Proposal

It might not be your idea of romantic, but it worked. In Secaucus, N.J., last week, while appearing on Howard Stern's TV show, comedian Joe Piscopo looked into the camera and popped the question to 20-year-old Kimberly Driscoll. Driscoll, formerly a babysitter for Piscopo's son by his previous marriage, saw the proposal on TV and accepted. "This was not one of our planned segments," said a spokesman for the station.

Cardinals Dinner

Former secretary of the treasury William Simon will chair Catholic University's second American Cardinals Dinner, to be held Friday in the grand ballroom of New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The black-tie event will honor eight American cardinals, including James Hickey of Washington and New York's John J. O'Connor, for their work in the Catholic Church.

Days of Wine and Rose

Axl Rose, the tattooed lead singer of the hard rock band Guns N'Roses, is seeking a restraining order against a woman he allegedly struck with a wine bottle last month in a scuffle at his home. Rose, 28, asked a Superior Court judge Monday to prohibit his neighbor, Gabriela Kantor, from having any contact with him, his wife, Erin, or any visitors to their West Hollywood condominium. He was arrested Oct. 30 after the incident, which took place in the hall of their building after she had complained about the volume of his music. The rock star was released on $5,000 bail after being jailed for four hours. Kantor was treated at a hospital. According to the restraining order petition, the incident began with Kantor "banging incessantly and hysterically" on Rose's door, allegedly threatening to "stab, injure and kill" the singer with the wine bottle.