British Library, London:
Many years ago, I read Thornton Wilder's novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey which some of you may remember. It tells of the collapse of the finest bridge in Peru in 1714, and of the lives of five people who were thrown to their death in the river below. Just before the bridge collapses, a Brother Juniper is travelling past and sees the victims hurtle to their death. He says to himself:
Why did this happen to those five? If there were any plan in the universe at all, if there were any pattern in human life, surely it could be discovered mysteriously latent in those lives so suddenly cut off. Either we live by accident and we die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan...
There are two matters mentioned in Novo Millennio Ineunte that seem to me to be of great importance at this moment in the life of the Church. The first concerns collegiality and the second is ecumenism. One particular expression of collegiality is the Synod of Bishops. I have to say that I have been a bishop for nearly 24 years and have not yet attended a Synod. However, speaking with many bishops from different countries, it is clear to me that it is time for serious re-examination about the manner in which the Synod operates. It should be evident to all the bishops that real debate has taken place, honest discussion and argument. Representatives of Bishops' Conferences meet every three years - but ongoing collegiality means more than that. It means that the Synod Office should be of greater importance than it is at present. It should be an organ of the Secretariat of State, equal in importance to other main dicasteries such as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Bishops. It is an office that should be in constant communication with Bishops' Conferences throughout the world. I think this would help to establish the right balance between the ministry of Pope John Paul, the College of Bishops - never Peter without the eleven and never the eleven without Peter - and the necessary service of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia. Much more could be said and I understand the difficulties. But the challenges facing the Church are great and the Synod should and could be a more effective forum for addressing them. This would also be very encouraging for the bishops...
From the newspaper of the National Association of Catholic Families - An interview with Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.
Transcript of an interview by Sue MacGregor.
Human life and human rights start at conception, says Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
Law and Genetics in Counsel Magazine - The Journal of the Bar in England and Wales - April 2001
Yesterday, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales launched a leaflet called 'Vote for the Common Good'. It will soon be in every Catholic church, and on the internet www.catholic-ew.org.uk. We hope that everyone - not only Catholics - will think about what we have to say.
The Catholic Church has always been deeply involved in society. Over the years we have built thousands of schools. We have cared for people in poverty, those with marriage problems, refugees, prisoners, the homeless, and others in need. With this experience, and the Christian belief that we must love our neighbour, the Church has developed a set of social principles. Our leaflet outlines them briefly, and highlights some important issues.
21 March, 2001 at the Speaker's Residence, Houses of Parliament:
I am very grateful indeed to the Speaker of the House of Commons and Lord Carter for kindly inviting me to come and talk with you today. There is a relationship, even a partnership, between religion, or a religious leader, and the politician. Well, I suppose a Cardinal, as a Bishop, has the advantage of not having to run for office at periodic intervals (though I know people who rather wish they did!) Therefore, religious leaders can speak of human and social issues in a different context. In his farewell address, George Washington said, 'Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens'. ...
On 21 February 2001 Pope John Paul II created 44 new members of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor being among their number. Each new cardinal is presented with four gifts from the Pope: a ring, a red zucchetto (skull-cap), a red biretta (box-shaped hat), and a titular church within the walls of Rome. Pope John Paul II presented Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor with the Minor Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
Transcript of the interview between James Naughtie and the Cardinal.
Transcript of the interview with Silvia Guzzetti.