Monday, August 06, 2007

Lustiger: For Funeral, Pope Seeks Paris Match

Returning to things Lustiger, it's well after Roman noon, and still no sign from the Holy See of the customary papal telegram published at the death of every cardinal.

The delay can best be attributed not to Benedict XVI's lack of something to say, but sewing up arrangements for the selection of his personal representative to Friday's funeral for the Parisian cardinal, who died yesterday at 80.

(Given the timing in the midst of the August hiatus, finding an available cardinal becomes a bit more difficult than it usually is.... Even for the Pope.)

Given Lustiger's stature as the high-profile holder of one of the global church's marquee posts for a quarter-century, the nod might go to either of the Curia's French princes -- the vice-dean of the College of Cardinals Roger Etchegaray or the new president of Interreligious Dialogue Jean-Louis Tauran -- or even, possibly, the Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone SDB on his way back from the Knights of Columbus convention in Nashville. (Bertone touched down in Washington last night, and will celebrate the opening liturgy of the 125th Supreme Convention tomorrow morning.)

The late prelate is shown at right during one of the cherished traditions he brought to Paris: the annual Good Friday Via Crucis from Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Basilica of Sacre-Coueur atop Montmartre.

In light of the Jewish-born cardinal's conversion to Christianity, the Jerusalem Post has seen fit to brandish its obit with the word "apostate." In the headline.

Even in death, it seems, some still fail to put the polemics aside.

SVILUPPO: At 2pm Rome time, the papal telegram -- addressed to Lustiger's successor as archbishop of Paris, Andre Vingt-Trois -- was released; no legate's name announced.

Rush translation from the original French:
Learning with great emotion of the death of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, archbishop-emeritus of Paris, I am anxious to express to you my profound union of prayer with the archdiocese of Paris, with those close to the deceased, and with all those touched by the departure of this great figure of the church in France. I entrust to the mercy of God the dear Cardinal Lustiger, who generously devoted his life to the service of the people of God in the diocese of Orleans and the archdiocese of Paris. I give thanks to the Lord for his episcopal ministry, keeping present the memory of this shepherd enraptured by the search for God and the proclamation of the Gospel to the world. From his ministry to students, he maintained a concern for the young. In the communities to which he was entrusted, he contributed to the development of a missionary engagement of the faithful, attaching himself particularly to the renewal of the formation of priests and of the laity. Man of faith and dialogue, he gave generously of himself to promote ever more fraternal relations between Christians and Jews. With a clairvoyant intellect, he sought to place his gifts at the service of the faith, to make present the Gospel to all areas of society. As a sign of consolation, I grant the Apostolic Blessing to you, and to your auxiliaries, those close to the late cardinal, to the priests, deacons, consecrated persons and to the faithful of the archdiocese and to all who take part in the funeral rites.


PHOTO: Reuters/Charles Platiau