On Friday, 1 September Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor died just a few days after his eighty fifth birthday.
He was appointed Archbishop of Westminster in 2000 and was made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul 11 in 2001. In 2009 he became the first Archbishop of Westminster to retire.
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was known for his ecumenical work. He was awarded the Lambeth degree of Doctor of Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of this work.
He was the first leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales to visit Sandringham as a guest of the Queen and preached to the Royal Family at St Mary’s church on the estate. He also read prayers at the Queen Mother’s funeral and thus became the first Cardinal to be involved in a royal funeral since 1509.
On becoming Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor established an independent committee led by Lord Nolan to carry out a review on child protection practices in the Catholic Church. The recommendations from the Nolan Report were carried out and provided a model of good practice beyond England and Wales.
May he rest in peace.
(Photographs courtesy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales website)