Radio 4's Today Programme regarding the death of Cardinal Tom Winning, Archbishop of Glasgow
posted on 18 June 2001
Alan Little: Catholic priests in Scotland will meet later today in the immediate aftermath of the shock they suffered yesterday when their leader, Cardinal Tom Winning, died suddenly of a heart attack. Cardinal Winning was a huge figure in Scottish public life and a controversial one who did not hesitate to intervene directly in the great political issues of the day. His absence will be sorely felt by many. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor is the leader of the Church in England and Wales. He is in our radio car now. How will Cardinal Winning be remembered?
Cardinal: I think he'll be remembered as a great Archbishop, as a great Scotsman, one who - what is it that John Bunyan says? - 'His name is valiant for truth' as Tom Winning saw it. The Cardinal always spoke directly, clearly and what was in his mind, namely the teaching of his Church which he deeply believed.
AL: Yes, he was valiant for a very orthodox and conservative version of the truth though, wasn't he? I mean, his decision for example a few years ago to set up a fund to pay pregnant teenagers not to have abortions. That attracted huge controversy, didn't it?
Cardinal: I thought it was very good and very right. As someone put it, he put his money where his mouth is. We really do believe that abortion is wrong. Is it wrong therefore to spend money to help teenage girls from having abortions, and that is what the Cardinal did. He did it instinctively and what he did was right.
AL: And it was only one example, wasn't it, of his determination not in a sense to render until Caesar that which is Caesar's. He intervened directly into what many people believe were the secular matters of the day.
Cardinal: Well, he wasn't afraid to swim against the tide. Certain things which concern morality - whether social morality, sexual morality, Cardinal Tom Winning was one who said, 'This is what I believe. These things are deeply important, not only for Church people... they are important for the human race! They are important for people.' And that's why he spoke out so strongly.
AL: And how must the Church move forward in Scotland? We know that there'll be in a sense a temporary leader before the Pope has an opportunity to make an appointment as Archbishop of Glasgow. What should be the priorities when the Church faces this appointment?
Cardinal: I think that no one Church leader is like another. There'll never be another Tom Winning. There'll be another man who will be chosen by the Pope to lead the people of the Diocese of Glasgow and I think what he will do will be to do in his own way what Tom Winning did in his, namely to bring the message, the teaching, the presence of Jesus Christ to the people of his diocese.
AL: Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, thank you very much