The Jewish Cardinal (Der jüdische Kardinal) 3.0 stars

Jewish Cardinal (Der jüdische Kardinal) movie poster

The issue is the opening of a Carmelite convent in Auschwitz — Catholic nuns and symbols in "the biggest Jewish cemetery in the world." The nuns see it as honoring Edith Stein, a Jewish convert who became a Carmelite and died in the camp. The Polish Pope John Paul II (masterfully played by Aurelien Recoing) sees it as a blow against the ruling communist authorities in his home country. But Jean-Marie Lustiger (Laurent Lucas) — Jewish convert, Archbishop of Paris, and very much the subject here — sees it as an affront to the Jews who died there, including his own mother. The approach to the issue is remarkable for its clear eye and level head, in spite of the skewed visions and hot tempers of its characters. And its subject is, for a certain sort of soul, completely fascinating: a man at the center of a maelstrom that swirls together identity and belief, passion and prudence, and a genuine (if tortured) love for both Papa and Il Papa. 2013.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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