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Cardinal Outlines Vision of Future Church

posted on 24 May 2005
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor will this Wednesday conclude a series of popular lectures at Westminster Cathedral with a broad outline of the future of the Church in Europe.

The lecture will bring to a close the “Faith in Europe?” series of Wednesday evening talks, which have brought together major thinkers and statespeople to consider Pope John Paul’s challenge to Europe to “relive its roots”.

The Cardinal’s lecture will draw together the challenges outlined by previous speakers, and address the question of what “shape” the Church will need to adopt to meet them.

Previous speakers include Sir Bob Geldof, Lord Patten and President Mary McAleese, as well as Jean Vanier and Fr Timothy Radcliffe.

Each lecture has attracted more than a thousand people.

Previous lectures can be read online at www.rcdow.org.uk by clicking on “speeches and articles”. The lectures will be published as a book later this year by Darton, Longman & Todd.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor had the idea for the series after he read Pope John Paul II’s exhortation on Europe, Ecclesia in Europa. The 2003 document contained the conclusions of a meeting in 1999 in Rome of Catholic bishops from across the continent.

The Pope wrote there of f the precious unity underpinning European nations, the loss of Europe’s Christian memory, the break-up of society and the weakening of solidarity.

“Be yourself,” he exhorted Europeans in Ecclesia in Europa. “Rediscover your origins. Relive your roots.”

The six talks at Westminster Cathedral have sought to do that.

They have explored themes such as hope, solidarity, and faith; how human relationships can best flourish; and how Europe can serve the wider interests of the world.

The series ends on Wednesday with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s vision of the changing shape of the Church in Europe, and what the future holds.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor writes in the leaflet advertising the lectures:

“We are living in an enlarged and enlarging Europe and it seems to me that we need to be more aware of the importance of Christianity in our European heritage, and, more importantly, in the Europe we wish to build in future.

Where are the seeds of hope to be found in our increasingly secularised and material culture? What are the expectations of a new generation of European citizens? Is solidarity among European nations an end in itself - or is there a wider vision? What role does peace in Europe have in building peace in other parts of the world? How can the Catholic Church respond to the challenges of our day?

I hope you will join me in seeking some answers to these questions in a series of talks in which leading politicians, thinkers and campaigners share their vision.”

The lectures have taken place on Wednesdays at 7.00 p.m. in Westminster Cathedral as follows:

13 April - Jean Vanier (Founder of L’Arche), “Hope in Europe”
20 April - Mary McAleese (President of Ireland), “Growing up in Europe”
27 April – Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP (former Master-General of the Dominicans), “The Christian contribution to Europe”,
4 May - Sir Bob Geldof (former rock star and activist), “Europe in Solidarity”
18 May - Lord Patten of Barnes (Chancellor of Oxford University),“Europe in the wider world”.
25 May - Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor (Archbishop of Westminster),“The Church in Europe”
Notes:
Embargoed copies are available to press in advance. The text of the lecture will be available on the website from Thursday
Contact Details:
Austen Ivereigh
Press Sec
Telephone: 020 7798 9045 or 07905 224860
posted on 24 May 2005

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