Retirement of papal confidant Cardinal Lustiger
Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, a confidant of Pope John Paul II and a Jewish convert to Catholicism who lost his mother at Auschwitz, has retired as archbishop of Paris at age 78.
The pope appointed Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois of Tours as Lustiger's successor in the French capital.
The Vatican said the pope accepted Lustiger's resignation, which was handed in due to Lustiger's age. The French prelate was already serving three years beyond the normal retirement age for bishops.
Lustiger remains a cardinal, however, and can still vote in any papal conclave until he turns 80.
He recently waded into the debate about John Paul's health and future as pope, saying that the rules of the church allow for the 84-year-old pontiff to step down.
"He can resign, and it's a question of his conscience," Lustiger said. "The pope must do what he thinks to be the will of God to accomplish his mission," Lustiger told a French radio station this week. But Lustiger also noted that the pope's forbearance in the face of his ailments was an important symbol for Roman Catholics.
Lustiger headed the Paris Archdiocese for 24 years.
On 27 January, he represented the Holy Father at commemoration ceremonies for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. As a teenager, Lustiger went into hiding from the Nazis in Orleans, south of Paris. There, Lustiger, who was not a practicing Jew, converted to Catholicism in 1940 at the age of 14.
While Lustiger's father brought the children to safety, his mother stayed behind in Paris to tend to the family hosiery shop. She was rounded up by the Nazi occupying forces, who sent her first to the Drancy transit camp outside Paris and then on to Auschwitz.
Lustiger was ordained a priest in 1954. Despite his atypical background, he rose through the church hierarchy to become the public face of Catholicism in France.
His successor Vingt-Trois, 62, was an auxiliary bishop in Paris when he was appointed to Tours in 1999.
Papal Confidant Cardinal Lustiger Retires (The Herald-Sun Durham North Carolina/Associated Press 11/2/05)
Archdiocese of Paris | Message du Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger aux catholiques de Paris | Mgr André VINGT-TROIS est nommé archevêque de Paris
Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger (catholic-hierarchy.org)
Archbishop André Armand Vingt-Trois (catholic-hierarachy.org)
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In Paris, Cardinal Lustiger retires, Tours archbishop to replace him (Catholic News Service 11/2/05)
Pope appoints Vingt-Trois new Archbishop of Paris (Catholic News Agency 11/2/05)
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15 Feb 2005