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Commenting on Lord Lester of Herne Hill's civil partnership bill, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said:

'Good marriages and strong family life must both be at the heart of any healthy society. The witness of faithful married couples in our society is vital to the common good and resilient marriages are crucial in providing the best possible upbringing for our children.
'Marriage is based on the public promise of mutual obligation between husband and wife, with the aim of a life-long commitment to each other and to their children. Our society should acknowledge on the basis of experience that co-habitation, notwithstanding any legal definition, may and frequently does involve a dilution of that life-long commitment and the obligation to provide a stable long-term basis for the healthy development of any children in that relationship.

'Clearly we all need to study in detail the possible consequences of civil partnerships but I would be deeply concerned about any proposal that might appear to undermine in any way the status of marriage. No society can afford to neglect the health of the family.

'I hope this paper will stimulate a soul-searching debate throughout our society on the vital importance of the place of marriage and on parental commitment to children. We need also to examine wider structural and cultural influences which may contribute to an undermining of the sanctity of marriage and of the efforts of individual families to stay together.'

29 January 2002

Tim Livesey joins Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor's team of personal staff coming to Archbishop's House on loan from the Foreign Office where he has worked since 1987. Following postings in Morocco, Nigeria and Paris, where he was head of Press and Public Affairs, Tim has spent the last eighteen months on secondment to the Downing St Press Office.

Aged 42 he is married with five children.

28 January 2002

The Catholic Church in England and Wales today announces the appointment of a senior child protection specialist to oversee a national strategy for child protection.

Oxford-educated Eileen Shearer has been appointed after a thorough and exhaustive search for a high calibre specialist in this field.

14 January 2002

On hearing the news that Dr George Carey will retire as Archbishop of Canterbury later in the year, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said:

'Archbishop George Carey and I are good friends and I have appreciated very much our collaboration in ecumenical endeavour...
08 January 2002

Speaking at a breakfast seminar at No. 11 Downing Street to unveil a new Government paper on domestic child poverty, heralded in the Chancellor's pre-budget statement, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, welcomed the published document.
13 December 2001

On hearing of the creation of the first human embryo clone in the USA, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said:

'I am very saddened by this grave development. I am not against scientific research but it must always be done in an ethical context. I believe there are grave dangers for our society if we allow the cloning of human embryos. This first step on a downward spiral may seem very clever, but is it really wise?'
26 November 2001

On hearing of the death of Mrs Mary Whitehouse, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said:

'Mary Whitehouse was an outstanding figure who ceaselessly championed for public morals. She is to be particularly esteemed for her campaign against indecency in many aspects of the Media and it is entirely right that the Media should be challenged in this way. She cared deeply about family values in society and most people were glad of her uncompromising stance.'
26 November 2001

The transcript of the Today Programme interview with the Cardinal and Sarah Montague
23 November 2001

At their November meeting, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales discussed at length the current situation in Afghanistan. Their reflection paper is offered primarily to the Catholics of England and Wales, with the hope that it will be of use to our political leaders, and deserve the attention of the Muslim communities in our countries.
16 November 2001

Speaking on behalf of Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and the other Catholic bishops of these countries, Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool, Vice-President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference, met the Prime Minister this afternoon with other religious leaders. Following the meeting, the Archbishop said:

'At today's meeting, we recalled the events of 11 September and their continuing legacy of grief and confusion. There must be unqualified condemnation of the evil deeds of that day. I am grateful that many people have clearly stated that Islam is not our enemy. Conscious of the restraint which has been shown in the past three weeks by the international community, I have found a sense of worry and fear, especially among young people, when the talk is of war.
08 October 2001

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