Saturday, November 3, 2007

The passing of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger

I saved a clip from August on the passing of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger.

I have always found the phenomenon of religious conversion to be fascinating. It is almost always an act of great courage, for the repercussions are often severe.

Christians become Jews, Jews become Christians, Christians switch back and forth among their myriad denominations. Atheists, like the son of the late famous secularist Madeleine O'Hare, become Christians, Christians become atheists, etc., etc.

The late Lustiger presents a very interesting case. He was born Jewish, of a mother who died in Auschwitz. After his conversion -- and what wrestlings of soul he must have had! -- he "rose to become one of the most influential Roman Catholic figures in France." According to the article I read about him, "he appears to have perfectly synthesized his Jewish heritage with his chosen faith, [saying] 'Christianity is the fruit of Judaism.'"

I wonder what he would have thought about a book that I am reading, "Constantine's Sword," which contemplates the long and painful struggle between Christianity and Judaism, particularly the painful Christian insistence on their faith being the supercession of Judaism.


Princess Haiku said...

"Faith is the assurance of things not seen," and a uniquely human capability for the better or worse.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Faith indeed does make a person better or worse, Princess Haiku. Sometimes much better, sometimes much worse. And that goes not just for religious faith, but for faith in anyone or any cause.