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The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, met this afternoon, 22 July. Archbishop Ncube described the plight of the people of Zimbabwe, particularly malnourishment of children, the use of violence by the state and the critical need to work for free and fair elections in 2005.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor reaffirmed the commitment of the Catholic Church in England and Wales to support the people and the Church of Zimbabwe. He expressed his support of Archbishop Ncube's stance on behalf of human rights in Zimbabwe. The two archbishops agreed to explore ways in which the Catholic Church in this country can continue to play its part in helping to improve the human rights situation. The Bishops are grateful for CAFOD's continued work in helping to respond to the acute crises of hunger and HIV-AIDS.

22 July 2004

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor delivered the following message at a seminar organised by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace:

'All those of us who work in the churches, government or the NGOs or in the developed world know something of poverty at first hand. In the richest countries there are pockets of poverty and distress and we apply our compassion, our ingenuity and our resources to try to bring a basic minimum standard to our people.

09 July 2004

Dear friends and supporters of the Margaret Beaufort institute,

Our readings today capture both the mission and the challenge of the teacher, when it comes to matters of faith. That is something that many of us will appreciate whether as parent, teacher, lecturer, spiritual director, theologian, even bishop. They have been chosen specially for our Mass of celebration today because they tell us something about what the Institute is striving to achieve in our midst and in its service to the Christian/Catholic community.

Poor St Paul writing only 30 or so years after the death of Christ is deeply concerned to warn Timothy of the dangers of false teaching. That warning has a curiously modern, or perhaps I should say post-modern, feel about it: 'The time is sure to come, he says, when far from being content with sound teaching people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes: and then instead of listening to the truth they will turn to myths'.
26 June 2004

Bishop George Stack:

'Each one gathered in Westminster Cathedral today will have a unique memory of Victor Guazzelli. For his family, a devoted brother, brother in law and uncle. They know that they were the solid foundation of his life and all that he could be to others. For his other family, the priests of the Diocese of Westminster, he was a dedicated priest and a compassionate bishop. The presence of so many of us witness to his unconditional love for priests and the priesthood. To the people of the Diocese at large, and the East End in particular, he was simply 'Father Victor'. Countless thousands of people saw him as the constant, caring face of the Church. And for the many organisations and institutions he served, the memory is a man of total commitment, willing to take risks, passionate for justice, his hand outstretched to those who were marginalized for any reason whatsoever.

11 June 2004

Victor Guazzelli
Born London - 19 March 1920
Died - 1 June 2004

Bishop Victor Guazzelli, former Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, died peacefully in his sleep during the night of Tuesday, 1 June 2004.
02 June 2004

Many people, including some Catholics, misunderstand the nature and purpose of moral teaching. Moral living implies duties and obligations based on the difference between right and wrong. For Saint Thomas Aquinas, perhaps the greatest of all Catholic theologians, morality is rooted in the most basic and universal desire, the yearning for happiness and fulfilment. A responsible and truthful consideration of that desire gives rise to an ethic of human flourishing, which is rooted in human nature, rather than in a set of laws imposed from outside. In other words moral discernment is a response to the fundamental question: what kind of person am I called to become.
26 May 2004

Archbishop Patrick Kelly met today with Ayatollah Mahmood Mohammadi Araqi, the president of the Organisation of Culture and Islamic Relations (OCIR) of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The meeting in Archbishop's House, Westminster continued a dialogue that Archbishop Kelly began with Ayatollah Araqi in February as part of a visit the Archbishop made to Iran when he was the guest of the Iranian Christian community in Tehran, Isfahan and Bam.

Archbishop Kelly and Ayatollah Araqi discussed interfaith relations as well as the humanitarian situation in Bam following the earthquake that devastated the city in December. It is hoped that the next meeting between the Bishops' Conference and the OCIR will take place in Iran during 2005.

Archbishop Kelly said: 'No-one can doubt at this time the complexity and the necessity of inter-religious conversation, dialogue and reflection if justice and so peace is to be secured not only across the Middle East but far wider afield. I am grateful that the Ayatollah Araqi chose to give time during his brief visit to this country to affirm the importance of our meeting in February and to make clear that such meetings must not only continue but go to ever-greater depths'.

For further information contact: Dr David Ryall on 0207 901 4865.

11 May 2004

The more I thought about what I might say to you today, the more I became intrigued by the curious possibility that programme-makers and preachers, or evangelisers, face a similar challenge.

How do you, and how do we, speak simultaneously to the prevailing scepticism of our time, and to the sincerely held beliefs of men and women of faith? How do we speak, or help others to speak authentically of religious truth when our audience may be predisposed, consciously or merely subconsciously to resist, to refute or simply to ignore those truths?
05 May 2004

'I am pleased that I have had the opportunity to meet monthly with many young adults of our diocese over the past year as part of the Renewal process. I am always greatly impressed by their enthusiasm and love of the faith. Our young adults are both the hope for the Church of tomorrow and a valued part of the Church of today. They have a vital role to play in the renewal of every parish and of the diocese at large.

Our Annual Diocesan Young Adult's Festival, Bright Lights, is a wonderful occasion to enable Young Adults to be renewed and re-energised in their faith. This year's weekend long festival has the theme of 'The Return of the King' and will provide opportunities, through prayer, liturgy, talks, workshops, music and socialising for our Young Adults to experience a real intimacy with Christ, our King. This renewal, through contact with Christ and other Young Adults of like mind will create the desire to live their faith more fully in their lives, and to return with great enthusiasm to their parishes. I sincerely encourage each parish to enable a group of Young Adults, 16-30, to attend Bright Lights this Summer at London Colney (July 9th-11th). I pray for its success and that each young person may welcome the return of the one true King into their lives'.

28 April 2004

'I am conscious today that we gather to launch a new agency of the Bishops' Conference - the agency for Evangelisation. Mgr Keith Baltrop, its new director, and all who work with him are aware that there is really only one agent for Evangelisation - the Holy Spirit. So, firstly, today I want to ask the blessing of God's Spirit on this new agency, for without God our work would be in vain.

I am sure that many of you are aware that I have been meeting on a monthly basis with Young People from throughout my diocese. I have been struck by many things in the time that we have spent together but, in particular, today I am conscious of two things that I have learnt from those meetings. Firstly I have seen in those gatherings that young people today are searching and questioning. They are particularly searching for meaning and purpose in their lives. Many of them recognize their own inner poverty despite, in many cases, intellectual and professional success. They often speak of their need for God. Secondly, I have become more and more conscious that there is for many young people a renewed interest and fascination with the person of Jesus Christ. Despite the controversy, I sense that the film The Passion of the Christ touched a sensitive nerve in our society and certainly mirrors an interest in the person and work of Jesus for many today. In some ways this is surprising because this fascination with the person of Jesus is coupled with a significant ignorance about him.

21 April 2004

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