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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Cardinal Lustiger has died
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¬†Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger died in Paris yesterday, aged 80, after a long illness. Cardinal Lustiger was a Jew who converted to Catholicism and whose Polish mother died in Auschwitz. He served as archbishop of Paris for 24 years before stepping down in 2005. Pope Benedict said in a telegram of condolences that he felt "great emotion" at the news of the death of "this great figure of the church in France" and "lucid intellectual." "A man of faith and of dialogue, he has dedicated himself generously to promoting more and more fraternal relations between Christians and Jews," Benedict said in his telegram, which was sent to Paris Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois. For years, Lustiger was the public face of the church in France, speaking out on critical issues and serving as a voice of calm in tumultuous times. He appeared to have perfectly synthesized his Jewish heritage with his chosen faith. "Christianity is the fruit of Judaism," he once said. "For me, it was never for an instant a question of denying my Jewish identity. On the contrary," he said in "Le Choix de Dieu" (The Choice of God), onversations published in 1987. A confidante of the late Pope John Paul II, Lustiger represented the pontiff at January 2005 ceremonies for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, where his mother died. "I don't want to return because it is a place of death and destruction," said Lustiger, who had visited the camp before. "If I am going, it is because the Pope asked me." Lustiger never publicly addressed the tragedy of his mother Gisele. But during France's National Day of Remembrance to commemorate the deportation and death of French Jews during World War II, Lustiger, taking part in the reading of names in 1999, came to his mother's. "Gisele Lustiger," he intoned, then added, "ma maman" (my mum), before continuing, Catholic World News reported. "The strength of evil can only be answered with an even greater strength of love," Lustiger said at an August 2005 Mass in Lodz, Poland, in memory of the more than 200,000 Jews deported from there to Nazi death camps. On 31 May, a wheelchair-bound Lustiger made an emotionally charged appearance at the Academie Francaise to say goodbye to his fellow "immortals", as the 40 members of the prestigious academy are known. The author of numerous books, Lustiger was made a member of the Academie Francaise in 1995. A funeral Mass for Lustiger is to be held Friday at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Paris archbishop's office said. In a letter of condolence to the Archbishop of Paris, the Most Reverend Andrť Vingt-Trois Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor wrote: My Dear Brother in Christ, I write to express my sincere condolences to you and to the clergy and people of the Archdiocese of Paris at the sad news of the death of Cardinal Jean Marie Lustiger. I pray that this most dedicated of shepherds will be welcomed into the arms of the Good Shepherd. It has been my privilege work closely with Cardinal Lustiger over many years as a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture. I have admired his zeal for the unceasing proclamation of the Gospel to contemporary humanity. I remember his gracious hosting of the World Youth Day in 1997 and then his kind invitation during the summer of 2004 to attend, with the Archbishops of Washington, Berlin, Moscow and Ottawa, the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Paris at the end of the Second World War. That moment of remembrance, peace and above all reconciliation was the hallmark of a devoted pastor and a man of deep personal faith. With my fellow Bishops of England and Wales, I assure you of our prayers to our loving Father for his eternal rest. We pray also for the consolation of his family, his brothers in the French episcopate and the people, religious and clergy of the Dioceses of Paris and Orleans. May he rest in peace. Source: Agencies/Archbishops House
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