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What Does Rome Have to do with Paris?

LETTER FROM ROME

By Lucio Brunelli | July-August 1984
Lucio Brunelli is Associate Editor of the monthly Trente Giorni, published in Rome.

Writing a column from Rome by discussing the relatively new Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Lustiger, might seem unusual. However, what is happening in the French capital — a cultural revo­lution connected with Lustiger’s presence — has a deep link with Rome.

Pope John Paul II and Jean-Marie Lustiger have been and are great friends. Their biographies contain many common features: experience as workers in factories and excellent knowledge of modern culture acquired by university studies.

Lustiger belongs to, and is even the leader of, “a new generation of bishops deeply influenced by the Polish Pope,” reported Le Monde,

bishops you can’t classify either as be­longing to the right wing or the left wing; neither progressive nor conserva­tive; whose intellectual level is above av­erage and whose way of life is quite dif­ferent from the traditional one of those prelates who grew up in Action catholique.

The position of these new bishops is a minor­ity one within the French episcopate, but its influ­ence is spreading because it has two important sup­ports: the Pope and the Catholic people. The Pari­sian Church under Lustiger’s guidance has not only become more “orthodox”; it is moving again. Many lapsed believers are now frequenting church­es.

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