France: Mgr. André Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris

Source: FSSPX News

 

The sensitive question of the succession of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger has required several months of reflection. The dossier has been under consideration at the Vatican since September 2004 and has seen several developments. By appointing “the spiritual son” of Cardinal Lustiger to the archbishopric of Paris, the Holy See has made a choice for continuity. Mgr. Vingt-Trois has the complete trust of his predecessor, whose right hand man he was for eighteen years.

Of Franche-Comté origin, Mgr. Vingt-Trois was born in Paris on November 7, 1942. After his studies at the lycée Henri IV, the young man entered the seminary of Saint Sulpice, at Issy-les-Moulineaux, in 1962. He made his entire ecclesiastical studies there. Ordained priest for the diocese of Paris by Cardinal François Marty, on June 28, 1969, he was, until 1974, vicar of the parish of Saint Jeanne de Chantal, where the priest in charge was Fr. Lustiger. Appointed director of the seminary of Saint Sulpice, he was to be the professor of sacramental theology there.

In 1981, he became vicar general of the archdiocese of Paris, where he learned to get better acquainted with the capital. He was given a number of responsibilities, including diocesan formations, pastoral care of families, the chaplaincy of public teaching, the appointment of priests and catechesis. He had an influential role at the head of the Cathedral School.

In June 1988, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Paris. Eleven years later, on April 21, 1999, he was appointed archbishop of Tours. Since November 1998, Mgr. Vingt-Trois has been president of the Episcopal Commission for the Family. He has also been a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family in Rome, since February 1995. He was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honor on July 14 2003. In a letter dated February 11 and addressed to the people of Tours, Mgr. Vingt-Trois declared that the pope’s decision had been “a heavy burden to accept”, “on account of the magnitude of the task” which awaited him. Mgr. Vingt-Trois will officially become archbishop of Paris on March 5 next.

 

The financial resources necessary for the running of the Church in Paris are estimated by the archdiocese at 100 million euros. The attendance at places of worship is 200,000 faithful each Saturday and Sunday in the 106 parishes and 62 sanctuaries and chapels of the capital. Today Paris has 592 diocesan priests, whose average age is 62, and 92 permanent deacons. There are 140 convents with a total of 2,500 nuns, and 80 male communities with 890 monks, 730 of whom are priests. Having as a priority an increase in the number of vocations, Cardinal Lustiger recommended to candidates for the priesthood in1984, a year of “spiritual foundation, followed by the creation of eight “houses” for the training of future priests of Paris. It is thus that 220 priests have been ordained in more than 20 years.