Posted in Film, History, Poland, world history

The Jewish Cardinal–a French film

Le métis de Dieu (The Jewish Cardinal)[2013]

I saw this film yesterday on the French channel. It introduced me to Aaron Jean-Marie Lustager [17 September 1926 – 5 August 2007], born a Jew, who insisted on converting to Christianity at the age of 13,  and became a bishop, archbishop, and later cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. His mother died in Auschwitz-Birkenau, his father was never reconciled to his conversion, and Lustiger himself could not forget his Jewish origin.

This historical film also looks at aspects of the history of France,  Poland under the communist regime, the attitude of the pope, and the conflicts over the Auschwitz cross, and the occupation of a part of Auschwitz by nuns.

Here is the epitaph that he wrote for himself, enshrined in the crypt of the Notre-Dame cathedral.

‘I was born Jewish.
I received the name
Of my paternal grandfather, Aaron.
Having become Christian
By faith and by Baptism,
I have remained Jewish
As did the Apostles.
I have as my patron saints
Aaron the High Priest,
Saint John the Apostle,
Holy Mary full of grace.
Named 139th archbishop of Paris
by His Holiness Pope John Paul II,
I was enthroned in this Cathedral
on 27 February 1981,
And here I exercised my entire ministry.
Passers-by, pray for me.’

† Aaron Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger
Archbishop of Paris

For someone like myself, interested in both history and religion, the film was fascinating. There is a lot on Lustiger available on the internet for those who would like to read more about him.

Posted in world history

The fossils of Antarctica

 

One hundred million years ago, Antarctica was covered in thick forests, inhabited by dinosaurs.  It was a time of warmth, when the polar ice-caps had practically melted. Robert Scott in 1912, was the first to notice fossilised plants. Later Jane Francis of the University of Leeds, as well as others, discovered more. Francis found stunted beech bushes, which were only 3 to 5 million years ago. These plants and trees survived despite unusual polar conditions of night or darkness throughout the winter, and sun and light throughout the summer.

Polar dinosaurs may have lived there throughout the year.  A complete dinosaur skeleton was found of Leaellynasura, which  looked somewhat like a small kangaroo, lived on plants, and had enlarged optic lobes, indicating it could see in the dark.

Another dinosaur known from its fossils was a meat-eating creature, more than 2 metres tall, living in the James Ross region of Antarctica. It was probably a Titanosaur.

There is also evidence of tetrapods living in Antarctica 245 million years ago.

A meteorite from Mars is believed to have fossilised microbial life.

Recently, there are claims of tiny humanoid fossils being found, which existed 600 million years ago!

Given what we know about human evolution, this is a near impossibility, and I am yet to see something about this in a scientific journal.

But obviously, Antarctica has many mysteries that are still to be discovered.