We Honor Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger
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.
Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger with Pope John Paul II in 1997 at World Youth Day, which drew over a million people in Paris.
As archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Lustiger (pronounced li-sti-ZHAY) led France’s 45 million Catholics for almost a quarter century, until his retirement in 2005.
He was an early champion of interfaith relations and accompanied John Paul to Damascus, Syria, in 2001, when John Paul became the first pope to set foot in a mosque. Earlier, Cardinal Lustiger was involved in efforts to close a divide between Jews and Christians over the presence of a convent at the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, where his mother had perished.
Jewish-Christian relations were a concern of his throughout his career. He spoke on that theme repeatedly.