Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor (1931-2017) RIP

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor dies former Archbishop of Westminster
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the former Archbishop of Westminster has died peacefully on Friday afternoon, surrounded by family and friends. He turned 86 just over a week ago on 24 August.

The announcement was made by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who asked people to pray for the repose of Cardinal Cormac’s soul and for his family and many friends who mourn his loss.

Two weeks ago, parishes and congregations in the diocese were told he was seriously ill and the Church said that his health had taken a “defining turn.”

Cardinal Cormac was installed as Archbishop of Westminster in March 2000 and later that year he was elected President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

In February 2001, he was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

He was one of 125 cardinals who elected Pope Benedict XVI following the death of Pope John Paul II.

He did not vote at the Conclave which elected Pope Francis because he had turned 80 the summer before.

But he did take part in the General Congregation meetings which took place the week before the Conclave in Rome.

First Archbishop Emeritus

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor left Westminster in 2009. He was the first Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster; all his predecessors had died in office.

He was born on 24 August 1932 in Reading, Berkshire, one of six children. Three of his brothers became priests and another played rugby for Ireland.

He was ordained a priest in Rome in October 1956 and first appointed to Corpus Christi Parish, Portsmouth.

Ten years later he became private secretary and chaplain to the then Bishop of Portsmouth, Derek Worlock.

In 1971 he became Rector of the Venerable English College in Rome where he was responsible for the training of students for the priesthood.

Historic meeting

During that time, he hosted the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Donald Coggan for what was an historic meeting between the leader of the worldwide Anglican church and the leader of the Catholic Church Pope Paul VI in 1977.

Before becoming the Archbishop of Westminster he served ad Bishop of the diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

In January 2002 Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Conner became the first member of the Catholic hierarchy since 1680 to deliver a sermon to an English monarch.

It was at Sandringham, at the invitation of the Queen, during her regular Anglican morning service.

Rest In Peace. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam Requiescot in Pace.


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