DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     July 7, 1999     vol. 10, no. 130


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

74.   Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger

          Like recently canonized holocaust victim Saint Edith Stein, the Archbishop of Paris Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger is a bridge between the Jewish peoples and Christians for he was born of Jewish parents in Paris, France on September 17, 1926. His parents, of Polish descent, were killed in the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in 1943 during World War II. But when they were deported from Paris early in 1940, young Jean-Marie was mercifully spared and taken in by a Catholic family in Orleans. That traumatic event changed his life forever. So taken was he by the faith of his new foster parents that he converted and was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church on August 25, 1940 at the age of 14. As a young college student after the war he became very active in Young Christian Students in Paris and it was during this time he realized a vocation to the priesthood. After studies at the Sorbonne where he obtained his degrees in the humanities and philosophy and the necessary major scholasticate studies, he was ordained a priest on April 17, 1954.

          After some more studies and pastoral work he was appointed the Cure of St. Jeanne de Chantal in Paris where he dedicated his time night and day to guiding his parishioners with a special emphasis on the youth and the elderly, always striving to honor the human dignity of every person he came in contact with. He became legendary with church-goers everywhere in France for his dynamic preaching. It also attracted the attention of Pope John Paul II who appointed him the Bishop of Orleans on November 10, 1979. He was installed a month later on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Two years later the Holy Father elevated him to succeed Cardinal Marty as Archbishop of Paris on January 31, 1981. Two years later the Pope honored him by naming him in his February 2, 1983 Consistory, bestowing the red-hat on Cardinal Lustiger at the age of 57. He received the titular church of St. Louis of France. Shortly thereafter he was appointed Ordinary for all French Eastern-Rite faithful who did not have ordinaries of their own.

          He has produced numerous important documents and significant homilies in France and globally and has come to be respected for his strong stance on human dignity, a refrain campaigned vigorously by another Pole - His Holiness John Paul II. The Holy Father has shown confidence in Cardinal Lustiger by appointing him to membership in various Curias including the Secretariat of State in the second section, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Congregation for the Clergy and the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life as well as the Pontifical Council for Culture. Though he, along with fellow French colleagues Cardinals Roger Etchegarry, Pierre Eyt and Paul Poupard are all above 65, they are not expected to be selected as serious candidates in the next papal conclave, but their influence could have a strong swing vote in the process.

July 7, 1999       volume 10, no. 130


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