Sunday, August 05, 2007

Cardinal Lustiger Dead at age 80

New York Times Obituary

PARIS, Aug. 5 — Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, who was born to Polish Jews, converted to Roman Catholicism as a boy, then rose to become leader of the French church and an adviser to Pope John Paul II, died Sunday, the Paris archbishop’s office said. Cardinal Lustiger, whose mother died in a Nazi concentration camp and who always insisted that he had remained a Jew after his conversion, was 80.


Besides his Jewish heritage, he was an unlikely and surprising choice to lead the Roman Catholic Church in France as archbishop. A former parish priest, he had few patrons in the French church establishment and had made a point of saying he felt more at ease talking to children and workers than to clerics.

Not surprising to me. Converts often tend to be very earnest about their religion, sometimes even more orthodox than the cradle-born. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he had had few "patrons".

They write that he had conservative appointments, but I don't know. He never struck me as that conservative-- not a flaming liberal, mind you, just kind of liberal around the edges, as they say in French.

Many conservative Catholics were also displeased. The French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, speaking to Le Monde, was dismayed that the Paris archdiocese would be led by “someone who is not truly of French origin.”

What a load. Confirming once again why I dislike the French traditionalists. Unfortunately, if it weren't for them, there would be nothing close to orthodox in the French Church.

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