Monday, August 06, 2007

Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger : Death of the Cardinal *UPDATED*

Christianity is the fruit of Judaism.

The strength of evil can only be answered with an even greater strength of love.

Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger passed away. Here's the ABC News story.

And better, here's a more reflective perspective on the Cardinal:

In the early 1950s, or so I’m told, two young men who would later come to world prominence attended some of the same political science lectures at the Sorbonne. One was the son of Polish-Jewish parents who had emigrated to France; the other was from Cambodia. One had lost his mother to the race-madness of German National Socialism; the other would himself be the cause of suffering for innumerable mothers. One had been converted to Catholicism as a young man; the other had followed a different messianic creed, Marxism. One would become the embodiment of a humanizing, reasonable faith; the other would come to symbolize the horrors that irrationality married to utopianism can cause. One would advocate spiritual revolution; the other, communist revolution. One would see his name invoked as a blessing; the other’s name would be cursed.

One was named Jean-Marie Lustiger; the other, Pol Pot.

Wow! What a beginning! Here's some more:

For Cardinal Lustiger, the “choice of God” was, at the very same time, the choice of an authentic humanism, a truly liberating humanism that could set men and women free in the deepest meaning of freedom: freedom from the fear of final oblivion that has haunted humanity for millennia, but no more so than in our time.
And at the heart of culture, Lustiger knew, is cult: the act of worship. Everyone worships; the only question is whether the object of our worship is worthy. Jean-Marie Lustiger lived, led, and died in the conviction that the worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus is true worship, worship that can shape a truly liberating humanism. That is why everyone whose life he touched was the richer for the encounter.

And if I can find my Dare To Believe (in a box somewhere; not enough bookshelves), then I can post some of my favorite comments/thoughts from the Cardinal.

Until then, I leave you with this:

Lustiger kept largely silent on the tragedy of his mother Gisele [who died in the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz]. But during France's National Day of Remembrance to commemorate the deportation and death of French Jews during World War II, he took part in the reading of names in 1999 and came to his mother's.

"Gisele Lustiger," he intoned, then added, "ma maman" (my mama), before continuing, Catholic World News reported.

Here is a lecture worth reading: "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" (1997) by Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger.

Blog by the Sea has a great round-up of related posts: "Cardinal Lustiger Rest in Peace."

And the Archdiocese of Paris has a photo album of some moments from Lustiger's life.

Following the tremendous success of World Youth Day 1997 in Paris, Cardinal Lustiger was interviewed by Communio (24,4. Winter 97). Here are some highlights:

The secret of WYD in Paris is not that we looked for
something we thought would attract the youth, but only the truth, the purity, and the beauty of the Good News of Christ.

It was evident to the young people that the pope did not welcome them in his own name, but in the name of Christ, by exercising his apostolic ministry as Peter's successor.

What brought together these hundreds of thousands of teenagers, what they lived, was the mystery of Salvation, the freedom brought by Christ the Savior. Through the liturgy, Christ himself touched their hearts. Remember the words of Irenaeus: "Omnem novitatem attulit, afferens semetipsum" [In becoming present himself, he brought all novelty]. Something new occurs every time Christ becomes present in the midst of his people.

People objected that the liturgy would not respond to young people's need to celebrate, and that we would risk meeting with failure--if we did not pervert the liturgy altogether. However, the event itself proved that nothing could have been further from the truth.

The liturgy is the place par excellence where the Church communicates the word of God and his presence in the sacraments; it is the means by which Christ reveals himself to men--today as always.

[T]eaching the faith must go straight to the core: the Paschal mystery of Christ in its ecclesial dimension.

This last statement by Lustiger brings to mind much of what Fr. Louis Bouyer conveyed in many of his writings, which perhaps is one reason why Cardinal Lustiger gave the homily at Fr. Bouyer's funeral, which is also published by Communio (32, 2. Summer 2005).


CatholicGeek has a worth-reading bio/eulogy to Cardinal Lustiger at "A Cardinal, A Jew, the Son of an Immigrant."


Nova et Vetera recalls one of the anecdotes Cardinal Lustiger used to tell: Was it just some kid or Lustiger himself as a child?


Christine said...

Thanks for educating me... as usual. What an incredible man.

I choked up at the "ma maman" bit.
Heartbreaking eloquence. I don't know what it is, but every time I read anything on the impact of that war, I am drawn closer to the heart of Europeans and a desire to share the Gospel with those who have no such hope. It's time to go home...soon, soon.

W. said...

Yes, an incredible man, one whom I consider a "man of the Church," a special tag given to those who really bring out and live the Christian life in its ecclesial dimension; as Fr. Fessio wrote in regards to Fr. Henri de Lubac, SJ:

"He has received all from the Church.
He has returned all to the Church."

(Splendor of the Church, Dedication, p. 5)

I agree with your statement about his mom. It got me too. You know, the flowery part.

Cardinal Lustiger's death has brought back some strong memories of days not too long ago. I have been a follower of his actions and writings/talks. I have enjoyed much that he has written, especially the Jewish aspects that he incorporates, which in another context explains why this struck me so strongly.

I was in Paris during the winter of 1995 and I stayed with one of Lustiger's friends/somewhat assistant, who happened to also know Fr. Buckley, I found out once there. Well, this French priest said such great things about Lustiger and then when I heard about Lustiger's Jewish background as well as his interest in some of the same thinkers I enjoy reading (Bouyer, de Lubac, Balthasar, and on and on), I made it a point to keep track (as much as possible, which ended up being sporadic) of his writings/speeches/actions. Glad I did. He was involved in some pretty eventful moments. If you have George Weigel's Witness To Hope with you, read pp. 388-390. A quick read but it will give you a flavor for the continual mystique that surrounds a Jewish convert who becomes an archbishop and then cardinal.

Christine said...

Ahhhh I am vindicated. He finally mentions "flower" spontaneously instead of always ignoring my jibes.

Man have you ever had some great opportunities over there in Europe...Before I travel again, I'm consulting you. Send me to interesting people, please.

So was Lustiger the husky-voiced priest in the JPII movie? I need to go back and watch that again. Which I can, because I bought it. :-) AND the Witness to Hope documentary.