Archbishop Lustiger of Paris Retires

Pope Appoints Expert on the Family

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 11, 2005 ( John Paul II accepted the resignation of the archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, announced the Vatican press office.

Cardinal Lustiger, 78, cited age as his reason to step down. The statement issued today announced his successor to be Archbishop André Vingt-Trois of Tours.

Archbishop Vingt-Trois, 62, is a native of Paris. He is renown in France for being an expert in moral theology, particularly in topics referring to respect for life and the family.

He is president of the Family Commission of the French episcopal conference since 1998, and a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family since 2003.

He worked closely with Cardinal Lustiger, in particular from 1988 to 1999, when he was auxiliary bishop of Paris. He was appointed archbishop of Tours in 1999.

The family has been the subject of most of his numerous books, including «Youth Cohabitation» («La Cohabitation Juvenile,» Le Chalet Publishers, 1978), and «The Family, 15 Questions to the Church» («La Famille, 15 Questions a l’Eglise,» Plom Mame Publishers, 2003).

Aaron Lustiger was born into a Jewish family of Polish origin in 1926. He converted to Catholicism during the Second World War at age 14, and adopted the name Jean-Marie. His parents were victims of Nazi persecution, and his mother died in Auschwitz.

John Paul II named him archbishop of Paris in 1981, and he was created cardinal in 1983. Previous to this appointment he was the bishop of Orleans.

Cardinal Lustiger is known for his efforts to promote dialogue with Jews, and his personal charisma, especially in his relations with the media. He founded Radio Notre Dame and the Catholic television station KTO, and promoted the Cathedral School, a school dedicated to the theological formation of both the clergy and the laity.

Archbishop Vingt-Trois will begin his new ministry on March 5.

When his appointment was made public, the archbishop-elect of Paris sent a letter acknowledging that it was «a heavy burden to accept,» and asked for prayers.

The Archdiocese of Paris, erected in the 3rd century, has 2.1 million inhabitants, 60% of whom are Catholic.

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