19 September 2020

Avignon and Mme Pepinster

The former editor of The Tablet, a Mrs Pepinster, was on the Home Service a few weeks ago and spoke about the unfortunate way the Catholic Church had treated the Jews. I was not in a position to have a view about this, since I have never studied the subject. (I do, however, recall that when a recent Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, the son of a Rabbi, visited Israel, he was treated with some discourtesy.)

But ... hang on ... here is something with which perhaps readers can assist me.

When Pam and I had our 40th Wedding Anniversary (April 1 2007), the Family very generously sent us off to Avignon for a week. I have haunting memories ... The big square, where each evening a ?counter-tenor anxious to sell his compact disks sang in tones like nothing I have ever heard ... I reflected that must have been rather how castrati sounded. The exquisite rococo Chapel of the Black Penitents, used by the SSPX (who gave me as an Anglican priest a most hospitable welcome). The Art Gallery, blissfully empty and full of good stuff. The tomb of Pope John XXII, made by English craftsmen. The Cathedral Sacristy, with vestments used at the Coronation of Charles X.

And, yes, a fine eighteenth century Synagogue. At that time, such Hebrew ostentation was not permitted (so we were told) within France. But across the Rhone, in the Papal States, there were ... apparently ... no problems.

What the doctiores among you can explain to me is why this should have been so.


Pelerin said...

There does seem to be some confusion on the internet about the occupation of Cardinal Lustiger's father although I have not read that his father was ever a rabbi. However according to the Obituary in the Guardian one of his grandfathers had been a rabbi.
On the Wikipedia page in English Cardinal Lustiger's father ran a hosiery shop but according to the French page in Wikipedia his father was a baker! A tribute edition of the Paris diocesan magazine which I bought shortly after his death gives the information that his parents kept a 'boutique de bonneterie' or hosiery shop so it does look as if the French Wikipedia page is incorrect unless of course there was a bakery attached to the hosiery shop.

Pelerin said...

Correction. Rereading the Wikipedia article on Cardinal Lustiger it would appear that his father had been a baker in Poland before running the hosiery shop when the family moved to Paris.

Paul-A. Hardy said...

Why that should have so? That's easy. "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34

Frederick Jones said...

As Prime Minister of France Clemenceau put it," Why are the French people so antisemitic when they have statues of dead Jews in every church". Popes have a much more tolerant history.