Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger Biography
(French cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church)
Birthday: September 17, 1926 (Virgo)
Born In: Paris
Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger was a French cardinal who had served as the Archbishop of Paris. What makes Lustiger’s story extremely remarkable is the fact that he was born to Polish Jews and converted to Roman Catholicism as a boy and went on to become a leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Paris. As the Archbishop he led France’s 45 million Catholics for over two decades—a rare achievement for someone who had originally been born into another faith. Not surprisingly, he was an early champion of interfaith relations. He considered Christianity to be the accomplishment of Judaism and Jewish-Christian relations was a recurring theme of his speeches. Even though he had converted to Catholicism, he never gave up his faith in Judaism and considered himself to be a Jewish Christian, like the first disciples. He was a conservative who opposed abortion and sought to preserve the priestly vow of celibacy. He was also very intelligent and frank and had a charismatic personality that made him a very popular head of the church. He had been an adviser to Pope John Paul II and was even mentioned as a possible successor to the Pope. He strived to reconcile the Catholics and the Jews, and in the process became beloved to members of both the religions.