Friday, August 10, 2007

France mourns former archbishop

A funeral service for the former archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Lustiger, was held at Notre Dame Cathedral. Born Aaron Lustiger to Polish Jews who had settled in France before World War I, the future Cardinal Lustiger became a Catholic at the start of World War II.

The ceremonies at Notre Dame began with a reading of a psalm, followed by the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, by Arno Lustiger, a cousin and 83-year-old Auschwitz survivor.

The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, interrupted his summer holiday in the United States to attend the funeral.

Cardinal Lustiger worked to improve Catholic-Jewish relations and was an outspoken opponent of racism and anti-Semitism, who appeared frequently on television as a commentator on current issues. His successor, Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois, praised the late cardinal's role in "the development of relations between Jews and Christians, with the encouragement and support of John Paul II".

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