French (Jewish) Cardinal, Dies at 80

If you haven’t yet, you must read the fascinating obituary of the French Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger.

Lustiger was a close ally of Pope John Paul II and was a key figure in trying to improve Jewish-Catholic relations. He was also born a Jew and, even after being baptized at age 13, continued to see himself as a Jew.

“I was born Jewish, and so I remain, even if that is unacceptable for many. For me, the vocation of Israel is bringing light to the goyim. That is my hope, and I believe that Christianity is the means for achieving it.â€? …

“To say that I am no longer a Jew is like denying my father and mother, my grandfathers and grandmothers. I am as Jewish as all the other members of my family who were butchered in Auschwitz or in the other camps.�

He stepped down as archbishop in 2005, but with the pope’s death that year, the cardinal was frequently mentioned as a potential successor.

He countered such speculation with characteristic humor. Asked by a Jewish friend over dinner whether he thought he might become pope, the cardinal responded in French-accented Yiddish, “From your mouth to God’s ear.� (MORE)

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