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Sermons/Reflections

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posted on 16 June 2011

The Cardinal shared his reflections on Her Majesty the Queen's visit to Ireland with Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2.


posted on 17 March 2011

The Cardinal shared his St Patrick's Day reflections with Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2.


posted on 13 April 2009

The Cardinal shared his Easter Monday reflections with Johnnie Walker on BBC Radio 2.


posted on 30 October 2007

Reflection by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor given at the United Christian Service of Remembrance, Healing and Hope to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Abortion Act held at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 27 October 2007


posted on 22 March 2007

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has paid tribute to Lord Nolan during a memorial service in Westminster Cathedral.


posted on 30 October 2006

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has celebrated a special Golden Jubilee Mass at Westminster Cathedral on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his Ordination.  


posted on 23 October 2006

On 19 October, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor preached at the Shrewsbury Diocesan Mass to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the Cathedral Church of Our Lady, Help of Christians and St Peter of Alcantara. 


posted on 04 April 2006

Homily preached by the Archbishopof Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, at a Requiem Mass celebrated at Westminster Cathedral on the anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II (3 April 2006)


posted on 03 April 2006

Sermon preached by the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, at the United Guilds Service, St Paul's Cathedral, 31 March 2006.


posted on 01 March 2006

Lent is not something you do but a way of being open to blessings, the Archbishop of Westminster says in his Ash Wednesday sermon.


posted on 03 January 2006
In his 2006 New Year Pastoral Letter, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has emphasised thoughts and intentions about peace: peace in our world, peace in your homes, peace in your hearts.

You can listen to the Pastoral Lettter which is available as an mp3 audio file New Year 2006 Pastoral Letter. A broadband connection is recommended.

posted on 24 December 2005
Text of Cardinal's 'Thought for the Day', broadcast at 0745 on BBC Radio Four, 24 December 2005

posted on 22 December 2005
Meditation given by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor during 'A Christmas Celebration': Wednesday, 21 December 2005 at Westminster Cathedral

posted on 22 December 2005
Meditation given by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor during 'A Christmas Celebration': Wednesday, 21 December 2005 at Westminster Cathedral

posted on 12 December 2005
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has brought to a close Westminster Diocese’s formal programme of spiritual renewal, promising to equip the faithful so that “together we can take responsibility for the values and the mission of the Church.”

posted on 10 October 2005
Edward the Confessor would not have been surprised by the “spiritual humanism” proposed recently by the Archbishops of Westminster and Canterbury, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor told a gathering at Westminster Abbey last Friday evening.

posted on 27 April 2005
This is the homily preached by the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, at a Mass for the diocese celebrated by him on his return from Rome following the election of Pope Benedict XVI

posted on 21 April 2005
This is the Homily by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor at Mass for the Election of Pope Benedict XVI held at Westminster Cathedral at 5.30 on Thursday, 21 April 2005.

posted on 04 April 2005
Homily by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, at Solemn Vespers for the Dead in commemoration of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, held at Westminster Cathedral at 1630 on 4th April 2005.

posted on 03 April 2005
Homily by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, at the Solemn Requiem Mass for His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, held at Westminster Cathedral at 1030 on 3rd April 2005

posted on 27 March 2005
EASTER SERMON, delivered at Westminster Cathedral at 10.30 am on Easter Sunday, by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster

posted on 22 March 2005
Text of Cardinal's address to his priests at the Chrism Mass on Tuesday

posted on 14 March 2005
Sermon by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor at a thanksgiving service for the 40th anniversary of the Corrymeela Community held at St Martin in the Fields, London, Sunday 13 March at 10 am. Corrymeela is made up of people of all ages and Christian traditions, who, individually and together are committed to the healing of Social, Religious and Political divisions that exist in Northern Ireland and throughout the world.

posted on 07 February 2005
By tradition Lent is a time of giving up and doing without; no sooner are we over the shock of our credit card bills after Christmas, the Church asks us to undertake an annual ‘holy fast’. We live out a penance, like a daily hair-shirt constantly pricking us. This is why the 40 days of Lent seem to pass so slowly. Will it never be Easter Day – when I can take up my daily habit again!

posted on 16 January 2005
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We have come together this evening to remember and to pray for those who have died in the tragic events following the earthquake and Tsunani wave. I want to remember those who have died, those who are bereaved, those who cry out in anguish to God in their misery and pain and sorrow. This evening, I particularly welcome those who come from the communities in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Somalia, the Maldives, and the many other countries touched by this tragedy in a direct way.

posted on 09 January 2005
Read at all Masses on the weekend of 8-9 January, 2005

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

One of my earliest memories as a child is attending Church with my father, and mother, my brothers and sister. Even before I could really understand much at all I was aware of two things; that Sunday was special and that it is the Mass that matters. I think of that today because the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has asked the whole Catholic world to reflect upon the Holy Eucharist during this year. He has expressly said that He does not wish any other programme within the diocese to be interrupted. Rather he invites every parish, every diocese, every Catholic, to think, pray and reflect upon the great Mystery that is at the heart of our faith. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is made present and focussed for us in the celebration of the Mass....

posted on 06 January 2005
Text of the Sermon to be preached by HE Cardinal Cormac-Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, at Westminster Cathedral at the 1730hrs Mass on the Feast of the Epiphany, Thursday 6, January 2005...


posted on 24 December 2004
'My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The first thing I want to say to you this evening is: Happy Christmas. It is easy to say; but what do I mean? The word 'Christmas' is clear to all of you here tonight; Christmas means the Birth of Jesus, the Christ, Who comes to save us from sin, from death and to show us the way to heaven. But 'happy'? What is happiness and what must we do to be happy? ...


posted on 11 December 2004
At the Requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral for murdered aid worker Margaret Hassan, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said:

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is hard to speak on an occasion such as this. Not only are we mourning a woman who died before her time, but also her death, as we know, was not swift but slow and cruel. After such events one is tempted to ask, 'Where was God?' But one might also ask, 'Where was man?' for Margaret's death was brought about through the cruel and violent actions of human beings. Yet for those of us who believe there is also amidst the question of suffering a cry of faith to God who is indeed the God who cares, who loves, and who so loved the world that He gave his only Son. He does not try to explain evil and wickedness to us but what He says is what the Prophet says in the first Reading, Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. The only partial explanation is that God himself suffered so that in a mysterious way Gethsemane is your garden and every Calvary is your cross. Our hearts have been with the husband, the sisters and brother, and the family of Margaret for the past agonising weeks since that terrible day when we heard of her abduction. And our hearts continue to be with them, most especially today when we gather to mourn her passing, and to give thanks to her life and to her witness....

posted on 04 December 2004
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor preaching at an ecumenical service in St Alban's Abbey Church on the weekend said:

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am delighted to be with you today in this great Abbey to celebrate the 850th anniversary of the Election of Nicholas Breakspear as Pope Adrian IV. There have been few non-Italian Popes in history but this one Englishman, elected in 1154, was perhaps among the greatest of them. He was born in Abbots Langley here in Hertfordshire in the year 1100 of humble stock. His father, Robert Breakspear, had taken minor orders at the monastery here of St. Albans, where Nicholas received his education. He had further studies in Paris and then entered the house of the Canons Regular of Saint-Rufus at Avignon. He was professed, ordained priest and later became prior and finally succeeded as Abbot of that monastery. As sometimes happens in monasteries, the canons found the new Abbot's rule too strict and they appealed to the Pope of that time, not once, but twice. Eventually Pope Eugenius told the canons who were protesting to go home and elect another Abbot, but he wisely retained Nicholas Breakspear, creating him Cardinal Bishop of Albano near Rome....

posted on 09 October 2004
Cardinal visits Winchester College to Mark the Anniverary of its Founder - William of Wykeham

In his homily during the Mass to mark the anniversary of the death of William of Wykeham at Winchester College this weekend Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said:

'My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, my dear Friends,

I am very grateful for the invitation to come to Winchester College for the anniversary of the death of William of Wykeham, its founder. I am delighted that so many from the College are here together with Anglican friends, and members of the local Catholic community.

When Bishop William of Wykeham founded this College in 1378 there were many twists and turns of the Church in England at that time. What I am reminded of as I come here is what Winchester has always stood for. These buildings, like those of New College Oxford, have had a huge influence on English intellectual life. They contain echoes of the great monasteries and cathedrals which have shaped the development of English civilisation. At their foundation is the purpose to cultivate, and to spread, a tradition of excellence and integrity in the field of learning....

posted on 12 September 2004
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It was just fifty-one years ago, during this month of September, that I first came to Walsingham on pilgrimage. I was with a group of young seminarians and we arrived at dusk. The first thing we did was to walk the Holy Mile to the Slipper Chapel. I remember we walked along in our bare feet, reciting the Rosary and singing hymns to Our Blessed Lady. We brought with us all our aspirations for the future; for the conversion of England; for our families, and the hopes for our priesthood. We were like hundreds of thousands of other pilgrims who have come to Walsingham year by year. ...

posted on 11 April 2004
Several weeks ago I returned to London from a visit to Rome the day after those horrendous bombings in Madrid. Here at the Cathedral, thousands of people, many of them Spanish, had gathered to pray for the victims and the injured and to be together during that terrible sense of loss. As I mingled with the young people who had gathered spontaneously on the piazza after that ceremony, I found it a most moving experience. Occasionally, one of them would shout out, 'Let us be silent' and for several moments there would be a hushed and reverent silence in the crowd. Many held lit candles and left them as a symbol of their prayer against the outside walls of the Cathedral. That silence was not only a dignified and authentic response to the evil which had confronted them but also, it seemed to me, an act of faith. It was a belief that terrorism could never conquer the human spirit, that death would not ultimately prevail and that, even in darkness, there is always light and hope....

posted on 06 April 2004
I wonder if, like me, you have noticed that in the Gospel story the closer Jesus comes to his Passion the less he says, and the more he is silent. The Last Supper is a supper of few, though momentously important words. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus withdraws to be silent and alone with the Father. At His trial, Jesus makes no answer to many of the questions that are put to him by Pilate or the High Priest. How few and poignant are the words He speaks on the Cross. Those words which are spoken come from a place of deep silence, and it was in silence that the mystery of God's will was fulfilled in his last hours.

Silence is how we ought, perhaps, to begin to prepare ourselves in these next few days. Our inner ear can be deafened by the noise of everyday life. We are bombarded by visual images and wordy messages, and increasingly at risk of becoming bereft of interior life, and the need for silence before God. I am not talking just about refraining from speaking, but rather of an interior silence which brings us face to face with ourselves and with God. I am talking about that inner space within each one of us where God dwells and out of which we may more authentically love our neighbour and ourselves....

posted on 07 February 2004
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today is Education Sunday. It is a time for us to give thanks particularly to the teachers and staff of our schools who give such an enormous amount to our children and our young people. Where would the Catholic community in this diocese be without the heroic efforts of countless members of our community who for the past 150 years have committed themselves to fundraising, building, and maintaining our schools and providing the moral and personal support which the teachers in our schools deserve. I would like you to pray today very specially for all of those who contribute to making our schools places of faith, hope, and love as well as sound educational institutions.

posted on 22 December 2003
I send my warmest greetings to you and your family as we approach this wonderful season of Christmas.

This year we celebrate this feast of peace at a time of continued insecurity at home and abroad. And yet it was into a world as violent and uncertain as our own that God sent His angels to announce His own unique gift – the birth of His Son, our Saviour, in that simple stable in Bethlehem.

Jesus, the Son of Man, Mary’s tiny child, was born into a situation of intense vulnerability. No sooner was he born than he was fleeing persecution and terror.

The true meaning of the Nativity cannot be experienced without a sense of this insecurity and fragility which is part of our human story. These things help rather hinder our entering more fully, and with an even greater sense of wonder and expectation, into the miracle of Jesus’ birth.

At times this message can seem lost among the gaudy lights and discarded wrappings of the modern commercial Christmas. But we should not forget that all but a few of the people of Bethlehem were also blind to what His birth might signify. Although there was no room available there, Jesus still came. Even though our own hearts are at times not fully open to his message, He still comes to us to bring us the same life, joy and peace that He brought to the Shepherds who went away 'praising God for all they had seen and heard.'

So, this is not a time for worry about what might be. It is a time to pause, to focus on what is really important in our lives, and for us to invite Jesus ever deeper into our hearts that He may be born anew within us.


posted on 13 December 2003
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This third Sunday of Advent is often known as ‘Gaudete’ Sunday. The word ‘gaudete’ means ‘rejoice’ or ‘be happy’ and it comes from the text of our second reading from St. Paul to the Philippians. Paul is writing to the community of Christians from prison and it is clear that he loves this group very much indeed. His heart is speaking to their hearts. So he says in this passage: 'I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord. I repeat, what I want is your happiness'. Quite simply, Paul is saying, as I do to you, that we should rejoice and be happy because we are united with Christ, we live in Him and through the gift of His grace we rejoice.

I was reminded of this when ten thousand or so of us met at Wembley Arena in September for the launch of At Your Word, Lord. It was clear at that great celebration that we were Christians, Catholics together, rejoicing in the Lord. We were glad. Sometimes I think we don’t rejoice or be happy as much as we can or ought to be. Of course, Paul knows that this is easier said than done, but it is very important, and so he says, 'Again, I repeat, be happy. What I want is your happiness'.


posted on 16 October 2003
Recently, I asked somebody who knew Pope John Paul very well over many years, what he thought was the leit motif of his long pontificate. He said to me that it was summed up in six words, about which the Pope had thought, reflected upon and preached about for the whole of his long life. These words were from the eighth chapter of St. John's Gospel, The Truth will make you free.

In Poland, the country he loves so much, its history, both tragic and glorious, moulded his character. The Polish experience, as he learned it in his youth, was a metaphor for the human condition in the 20th century, namely, the quest for freedom. And in the pursuit of that aspiration, truth was more powerful than what the world usually regarded as real power. The human spirit, ordered to truth, was the most irresistible force. His whole life and mission, as priest, bishop, pope, has been to communicate to people worldwide that you will only be free if you order your life by what is true...

posted on 12 October 2003
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is a great privilege for me to come here to your country and to this Cathedral at Stockholm for a celebration of its Golden Jubilee. I come as the representative of Pope John Paul II, who has asked me to convey to you his congratulations, his greetings and his hopes for evangelisation in your country.

The history of the Catholic Church in Sweden is not unlike our own in Britain. The re-establishment of the Church here over the past one hundred and fifty years began slowly. The first Catholic Church, after the Lutheran Reformation, was erected in 1837. By the beginning of the 20th century the number of Catholics began to increase mainly due to immigration from Italy. Later, after the Second World War, more people came, especially from Poland, Hungary, Germany - and later, from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. It is this community of people from many backgrounds who have written the story of the Catholic faith in Sweden. And you have done it with great steadfastness and faithfulness over so many years.


posted on 26 September 2003
Wembley Arena:

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It must be a long, long time since so many Catholics of our diocese were gathered in one place to celebrate our faith together and to give glory and praise to God. Are not those words of St. Peter to the first disciples addressed to us tonight, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God, Who called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people at all, and now you are the people of God. Once you were outside the mercy, and now you have been given mercy.”

As I look at all of you, gathered round this great space, I think to myself that we are the inheritors of a tradition. Just over one hundred and fifty years ago the Diocese of Westminster was re-established. The people who lived here then did so in very different circumstances. They had got used to living in London quietly during penal times because of the possibility of persecution. The re-establishment of our diocese was marked by a large influx of immigrants especially from Ireland, where the poverty engendered by the famine brought the poor and destitute to London. From other countries they came as well during those first fifty years of our diocese -from Italy, from Poland and elsewhere, and of course from other parts of the United Kingdom too. We are part of a story of the Catholic faith in this part of our country. Those religious ancestors of ours built our churches and our schools. They gave of their little money to the missions for the up-keep of their priests and religious. They not only kept the faith, they helped to spread the faith. ...

posted on 06 September 2003
To all the Parishes of Westminster Diocese on Prayer Commitment

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

What we hear, what we say, and how we hear, how we speak, determine to a great extent what we do – and eventually make us what we are. It is crucial, as Christians, that each of us has an ear that is attuned to Christ’s ceaseless call to leave other things and to follow Him. ...

posted on 26 June 2003
Looking back at the life of Herbert Cardinal Vaughan, what surprises me is how much of what he strove for and achieved is what we strive to achieve today. So much has changed in the intervening 100 years, and yet so much remains the same.

Archbishops then, like Archbishops now, were the subject of intense scrutiny, and not all of it favourable. In fact, of the ten Archbishops of Westminster appointed by Rome since the Restoration of the Hierarchy in 1850, it was perhaps the first three, Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman, Henry Cardinal Manning and Herbert Cardinal Vaughan who bore the greatest burden, both of expectation, and of often hostile public scrutiny.

But what great men they were.

posted on 04 May 2003
Dear Students of Eton College, dear Friends,

It is a real pleasure to be invited to address you this evening. It is always nice to preach to a chapel or church full of people. There was a bishop once who went to a parish and thought there would be a big crowd to welcome him. But when he went there were only a few people, so he said to the parish priest, 'Look here, Rector, there are very few people here; didn't you tell them the bishop was coming?' And the Rector said, 'No, My Lord, but the news must have leaked out somehow!'

posted on 27 April 2003
St Georges Chapel, Windsor

It is always a great pleasure to be among so many young people. And I am delighted to be with you in this wonderful chapel. Despite your youth you have already achieved something notable already with your lives. And I hope, and pray, with you today that you will carry on in the vein that you have begun - giving of yourselves to others, conscious of the responsibilities and opportunities that come with being a member of the human family. And also stretching yourselves beyond what might at first seem possible.

posted on 20 April 2003
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today I perform what is the most important act of a bishop's ministry. I announce to you, in the name of the whole Church, that Jesus Christ is risen. Those first apostles were, as Jesus said, witnesses to the truth that He had risen from the dead. A bishop is, above all, a witness to the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection is the focus and the hinge of Christian faith. If Christ is risen, then faith in Him is not in vain. Our hope is not uncertain.

posted on 18 April 2003
Westminster Cathedral

Today we confront a reality that is inescapable. It is not the joy of Christmas: the angels, the star, the infant in a manger. Nor is it the culmination of the Easter event; the joy of the resurrection, a new beginning, hope flooding back into our world. Today we meet the fundamental symbol of our Christian faith - the cross. And the cross brings us face to face with the reality of suffering, of sin and of death. In our liturgy today we revisit the darkest moments of the Passion, we re-live the pain, the mental anguish, the abandonment of Jesus. And in re-living those moments we are confronted with the mystery of our own suffering and the sufferings of those nearest to us.

posted on 15 April 2003
Westminster Cathedral

The Oil of Chrism, which we bless today, is the oil which makes sacred new beginnings in a person's life, whether at Baptism, Confirmation or ordination to the priestly ministry. It symbolises the truth that the Church is always young. Ours is a community constantly enlivened and refreshed by new members, new witnesses to the faith and by new priests to bring people the overwhelming generosity of God in the gift of the Sacraments. Our Mass of Chrism is a profound moment in which to reflect on our calling, as priests and lay people, to minister and bear witness to our calling to be, and to be seen to be a 'Young' Church.

posted on 19 March 2003
suspect that during the past fourteen months there is one song that has been running endlessly through the minds of the clergy and people of this Diocese. It goes something like this, Why are we waiting?! I perfectly understand your sense of impatience, despite the generous and extremely capable way in which Mgr Tony Rogers has acted as Administrator of the Diocese. I should like to pay a very warm tribute, on your behalf and mine, to him for the magnificent job he has done. Nevertheless, a Diocese without a Bishop is like a ship without a rudder. So today is an important celebration and a happy day not just for your new Bishop, Michael. It is also, I hope, a day of rejoicing and gladness for the whole of the Diocese.

posted on 02 March 2003
Read at all Masses in the Diocese of Westminster on the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 01/02 March 2003:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We Catholics risk giving Lent a bad name. Too often we see Lent as a season of gloom, of giving up things, and of hardship. But the first Preface for Lent makes it clear that this is a joyful season. So it is worth asking ourselves what is positive, even joyful, about the notion of repentance.


posted on 12 February 2003
30 August 1906 - 23 October 2002
Westminster Cathedral

'Song of Songs 2:10-14, 1 Corinthians 13:1-2,4-8,10-13, Luke 1:39-56'

'Come then, my love, my lovely one, come. For see, winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth. The season of glad songs has come.'

Our first reading from the Song of Songs sets the tone for our coming together today to give grateful thanks to God for the long and extraordinary life of Elizabeth Longford. Our faith tells us that for her the 'season of glad songs' has indeed come. I want to say what a pleasure it is for me to celebrate this Mass with all of you, her family, friends, and so many who had such a personal affection, respect and admiration for her.

posted on 24 January 2003
Westminster Cathedral

'I have come towards a peace and happiness, deep within, which I had not known and which I trust will find completion in the life to come- My illness has played a substantial part in my journey to God, to peace and to freedom. The journey is by no means easy, but when you come towards the light at the end ....and you feel its warmth, you taste its peace and freedom - because God has made that which was impossible for me, possible.'

posted on 25 December 2002
Westminster Cathedral

I was amused the other day at hearing the story of the Nativity as acted by children. They all entered into the story with great enthusiasm: the shepherds, the wise men, the inn-keeper, Joseph and Mary. No one was more enthusiastic than the boy playing Joseph. When he arrived at the door of the inn he asked the inn-keeper for a place to stay. The inn-keeper said, 'There is no room at the inn'. The enthusiastic Joseph lost his cool and said, 'But we booked'!


posted on 19 December 2002
Two years ago, the Director of the National Gallery in London came to see me about a picture he wanted to borrow from the Vatican Museum. During the conversation he talked about the extraordinary success of the Exhibition he had mounted earlier in the year, which was called Seeing Salvation. Tens of thousands of people, perhaps only a minority of them convinced Christian, had flocked to contemplate images of Christ down the ages. Seeing people's reactions to these profound images it was as though some became transfixed and moved in a way that art rarely moves and transfixes. The paintings, frescoes and sculptures somehow revealed something of both the humanity, and the divinity, of Jesus Christ - a remarkable achievement of the artists who, in their own time, and in their own way, must have contemplated the transcendence of God as revealed in His Son Jesus, who came to live among us on Christmas night two thousand years ago.


posted on 18 December 2002
Virtually all of us would claim to desire peace in the world. Few, however, would fail to be a little unnerved by the seemingly widespread failure to achieve peace in the world or by the enormous sacrifices that we must all make in the struggle for peace. The Holy Father's message is that peace must be 'founded on truth, built up on justice, nurtured and animated by charity, and brought into effect under the auspices of freedom.' For peace to work on a global scale, it must first work on a personal one. Our own lives, our own families, our own communities must be open to the message of peace before that message can be spread far and wide. In other words, we must be faithful to truth, justice, charity and freedom even if it means making great personal sacrifice.


posted on 10 November 2002
Blessed Edmund Rice 1802 - 2002- at Liverpool Cathedral

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am delighted to be with you today for this celebration commemorating the Bicentenary of the foundation of the first school of the Christian Brothers by Blessed Edmund Rice. It is right to celebrate and it is right to remember. The first remembrance must surely be of Edmund Rice himself, that extraordinary man, who was born in 1762 and died in 1844. The circumstances of his life which he experienced as providential and which helped to form his faith will have resonances with many people: his marriage, the death of his wife, his handicapped daughter, and his wondering about what to do with his life.

posted on 28 October 2002
Read at all Masses in the Diocese of Westminster on the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 12/13 October 2002:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

At the end of the year two thousand, the Great Jubilee Year, Pope John Paul wrote a letter to all the faithful in which he said: 'Now is the time for every diocese to assess its fervour and find fresh enthusiasm for its spiritual and pastoral responsibilities' (Novo Millennio Ineunte §3). ...

posted on 01 October 2002
St Therese of Lisieux - 1 October, 2002 at Westminster Cathedral

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Dear members of the Legal profession. You have come here today to celebrate with me the 'Red Mass'. I feel just a little nervous addressing such a sizeable gathering of distinguished members of the legal profession.

posted on 03 September 2002
St Gregory the Great - 3 September, 2002 at Digby Stuart College, London SW15

Last year, speaking at this Conference, I uttered some 'off the cuff' remarks about 'Christianity being vanquished in this country'. The interesting thing about the reporting of that remark, which was taken from a review of a book, is that it touched a nerve. The subsequent media interest was evidence of that. The reaction of the media to Church affairs and, in particular, to the Catholic Church, is that often, and in some cases rightly, they will pick on the weaknesses and sins of Church people. In that way they also wish to attack and diminish the Catholic Church's teachings and its claims. The fact is, of course, that Christianity and the teaching of the Church, make incredible claims.

posted on 05 July 2002
In the Cathedral Church of Our Lady and St Philip Howard, Arundel.

Miles, Duke of Norfolk, friend to so many of us here, was first and foremost a family man - husband of Anne, father of Eddie, Gerald, Tessa, Carina and Marcia, grandfather of 18, and great-grandfather of two - Violet and Arthur. He lived the fullest of lives. Together we mourn his passing. But we are here also to give grateful thanks to our Lord that Miles' life was so fulfilled, and that he lived to such a ripe old age.

posted on 15 June 2002
'They will rest in good grazing ground; they will browse in rich pastures' (Psalm 102). For the five of you who are leaving the Institute, and for whom we have come together to offer this Mass, I hope you feel that you have spent your time in good grazing ground, in rich pastures. I think the fact that your leaving is marked by the celebration of Mass says a great deal about the core values of the Beaufort Institute.

posted on 02 June 2002
It is characteristic of our modern media that, when reporting news about an extraordinary event, they often miss the point. For some months now we have been building up to this great celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. We have been told about the parties that will be arranged, the concerts being held here in London and elsewhere. We have heard the stories of the lives of the Royal family, and especially of the Queen - her tastes, her habits, her domestic virtues.

posted on 21 April 2002
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When I was Rector of a seminary I used to ask the young men who had just arrived to commence their studies for the priesthood why they wished to be priests. It was interesting that few could reply very precisely why they had entered the seminary. Most of them would say they felt that in some real and mysterious way God was calling them to be a priest. In other words, it was not immediately what the priest had to do that attracted them but, rather, the kind of person that a priest is. A priest in a special way is identified with Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd....

posted on 09 April 2002
Westminster Abbey:

THE SECOND LESSON
REVELATION 7: 9-17

After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders, and the four living creatures, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen; Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And 1 said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.

And he said to met These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.


posted on 09 April 2002
The early Christians had a particularly vivid sense of life beyond the grave. I have just returned from Rome and my mind turns to the Roman Catacombs - those extraordinary underground burial chambers in which you find the early Christians' faith in eternal life spelt out in simple graffiti on the stone walls. 'Dearest Antonia, may God refresh you in peace'. 'Atticus your spirit is in bliss'. And instead of the pagan Roman's despairing in aeternum vale, meaning 'farewell forever', you find the Christian's hope filled vision - vivas in Deo meaning 'live in the Lord'. In contemporary language, for those of us who, like them, believe in life after death 'adieu' is indeed 'au revoir'. We really will see each other again. Which is not to say that we therefore assume that the life we live here and now is hardly worth living. Precisely the contrary. Our life in Christ is life here, now and forever: it is life and living in all its fullness, and beyond time.

posted on 07 April 2002
Westminster Cathedral:

It goes without saying that for Christians Easter is a time of great rejoicing. It is our time of renewal, the time when our memories of death and of suffering are transfigured by the joy of Christ's resurrection and by his promise that we will have life in Him, life that will be abundant, and for ever.

This evening, the first Sunday after Easter, we gather to remember and to give thanks for the life of our much-loved Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.


posted on 31 March 2002
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again! Jesus is Lord. Alleluia! These are our Easter cries. But we should not celebrate Easter and the Feast of the Resurrection too easily. The first disciples of Jesus put their trust and hope in Jesus as their leader, as the Messiah, and hoped that He would lead them to the new Kingdom of God in triumph and in victory. They became profoundly disillusioned when they saw Jesus humiliated and ignominiously put to death. They wrestled with panic, doubt and even suspicion before they became aware of a new level of faith, a deeper kind of trust, which was totally different to what they had experienced in the past. As a result of God's love which touched and empowered them, liberating them from a lack of faith, they knew that Jesus had indeed risen, was with them in a new and different way and so they were able to shout together, My Lord and my God; Jesus is risen from the dead.

posted on 10 February 2002
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,

Three weeks ago, at Pope John Paul's invitation, I was present in Assisi at a World Day of Prayer for Peace. One memorable aspect of the meeting was the journey on the Pope's train from the Vatican City to Assisi along with representatives from the World Religions. As the train slowed down at every main town station there were crowds of people waving and holding up placards, saying, We are praying for you and with you for peace. It was both very moving and a very human reminder of the deep yearning in people of faith everywhere to live good lives and to contribute to the building of God's Kingdom. As Jesus says in today's Gospel: You are the light of the World. As we prepare for the beginning of the Season of Lent on Wednesday we might reflect on those very simple but affirming words with which Jesus encourages us to take our place in the world...

posted on 13 January 2002
This sermon was preached at the parish church of St Mary Magdalene in the grounds of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Sandringham estate. This was the first occasion since the Reformation in which an English monarch had extended an invitation to a member of the Catholic hierarchy to come and preach.

posted on 30 December 2001
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,

Some time ago I was privileged to take part in a programme called Desert Island Discs. Among the eight records I chose on my desert island was the theme tune of a programme some of the older generation might recognize, namely, In Town Tonight. As a boy - and not a Londoner because I was brought up in Reading - that theme tune used to evoke for me the life, the spirit, the 'buzz' of London. I used to think it must be a very exciting place in which to live. And here I am, within a stone's throw of the Houses of Parliament where great decisions are made; of St. James's Park where hundreds of people gather to walk, to mingle; of Berkeley Square where the nightingale sang, of The Passage where the homeless come to be housed and fed. This, and much more, is London and this is life. I know that, deep down, all of us love life. Of course there are tragic circumstances which touch everyone at times but our instinct is to rejoice at birth and to mourn at death. Like God, at the dawn of creation, we look at our world and see that in spite of all its defects, it is good. It is good to be alive. Life is good. ...

posted on 24 December 2001
This sermon was broadcast live on BBC1 television at a candlelit service in Westminster Cathedral celebrating the First Mass of Christmas

I was walking down a busy London street a week or so ago casually looking into various shop windows. They were full of glowing lights and decorations, enticing people to buy, buy, buy. To my surprise, in one shop window I saw the traditional crib and the baby Jesus, surrounded by Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the animals. I stood for a moment and gazed at it. I reflected on how many of those passing by had probably not looked twice at this crib because it appeared to have no meaning for them. I want to tell you tonight something of what the crib means for the world and what the crib means for me....

posted on 02 December 2001
My dear Sisters and Brothers in Jesus Christ,

Not a day goes past but the image of those terrible events that took place on September 11th in New York and Washington come to my mind. Not a day passes but the aftermath of that atrocity appears in the newspapers and on the radio and television. All of us are waiting and wondering as to how proper justice can be done and what the future will bring. I would like to say a few words about that but, first of all, I want to speak to you about another kind of waiting, because that is the word that sums up Advent - 'waiting'. 'Waiting' is a tireless refrain - be ready and waiting. Today's reading from St. Paul reminds us that 'the night is almost over, it will be daylight soon'. (Romans 13:12). The Gospel warns you to ' stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect' (Mt. 24:44). Later in Advent, Isaiah will tell the Jews in exile not to be afraid, ' Your God will come'. And we are told to wait till the Lord comes. ...

posted on 28 October 2001
I have just returned from Rome where I've spent the last month taking part in a Synod of Roman Catholic bishops from all over the world. We were reflecting with Pope John Paul on the role of the bishop in a rapidly changing world, but also a world in which people continue to experience a tremendous longing for God. It is our particular challenge as Christians to live our own faith in Christ in such a way that we can help others discover the place in their lives where they too can welcome God's gift of faith. ...

posted on 28 October 2001
Westminster Cathedral:

This sermon was given by Bishop Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, President of the US Bishops' Conference at the invitation of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor

It was very thoughtful of His Eminence, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, to arrange a gathering of the American community in London for this Eucharistic celebration, to pray for the victims and their surviving families and friends, following the catastrophic attack on the United States. I am grateful to His Eminence for this gracious invitation to me to participate in this special Mass with so many fellow citizens who are far from home at a time when our thoughts and hearts are very near to our native land...

posted on 20 October 2001
First of all, I wish to express my deep and personal gratitude to the Holy Father for having given me this beautiful basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva as my Titular Church in Rome. It is a great honour for me to be so intimately involved with the Bishop of Rome's pastoral care for a city whose people have borne outstanding witness to the faith throughout the ages. I am also honoured to be linked with so many illustrious predecessors, not least among whom is Cardinal Philip Howard, who is buried in this Church and who in no small part rebuilt the English College here in Rome, which is so dear to my heart and the hearts of English and Welsh Catholics.


posted on 11 October 2001
Ghandi said that an eye for an eye leads to a world that is blind. Would it be too much to hope that since 11 September the world is opening its eyes to a new reality?
For there is another cry that touches my heart as daily more than six thousand children die from hunger and disease. The ravages of world hunger cry out for justice for the poor. Globalisation and its implications for interdependence are very familiar. As a Christian I like to think of the world as one family, where everyone feels an obligation for their sister or brother.

I pray each day to the God of all humanity to change the world. May the alliance against the threat of terrorism become a common struggle for justice for the world's poorest, motivated not by what we stand against, but by what we stand for.

posted on 12 September 2001
Westminster Cathedral:

No one who heard on the radio or saw on the television the horrific events that took place in New York and Washington yesterday can fail to be deeply moved and horrified at what had occurred. Yesterday was a day of national tragedy for the American people, and indeed, brought tragedy to the hearts and minds of people across the globe. ...

posted on 10 August 2001
Westminster Cathedral:

It is good to remind ourselves of what shapes our celebration today. For this liturgy of the Requiem Mass tells us that we are to comfort one another with words of faith; that we are to praise God for his majesty and glory; that we are to invoke in the Holy Eucharist the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which for we Christians, is our ultimate hope - and we express our faith in God's love for Frank Longford as we pray for the repose of his soul...

posted on 18 June 2001
One of the most consoling aspects of our Catholic faith is that when one of our number dies we can speak a language of remembrance and love with the constant hope that our lives are all in God's hands. I feel this very deeply today when we mourn the death of Cardinal Thomas Winning. I can speak of him in the context of family, friendship and faith. For a bishop, while he knows and loves his own personal family, there is a sense in which the people of his diocese are his family. For over 24 years that he was Archbishop of Glasgow, the priests and people of that diocese were in a very real sense the familiars, the family to which he gave his love, his service, his dedication. Day in, day out, year in, year out, Cardinal Tom Winning had no other agenda but to serve, together with the priests, the people of the diocese. The object of that service was quite simply that the people be formed in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. ...

posted on 09 June 2001
Arundel Cathedral:

I am very happy indeed to be with you today - at last! People have written to me and people have rung me and they have asked, 'What has happened? Has Pope John Paul forgotten your old Diocese? When are we going to have a new bishop?' I kept saying, 'Be patient - do not worry - all will be well.' And today, the long period of waiting is over and your new bishop, Kieran Conry, will take over the helm and be your new shepherd. It is, indeed, a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing.

But I have known well what the Diocese has felt since the departure of your former bishop. You see, a Diocese without a bishop is somehow like a ship without a sail, a boat without a rudder. It lacks something essential for it to steer by, so that without a bishop, the Diocese is somehow becalmed, because a bishop assures the Diocese of its authenticity. The Church is always one, holy, catholic and apostolic and the bishop assures the local Church of Arundel and Brighton of its apostolicity, almost of its faith and its rightful place among all the local churches within the universal Church of Jesus Christ...

posted on 20 May 2001
Portsmouth Cathedral:

It is a pleasure for me to be back in this great City of Portsmouth. It evokes many memories, memories of years of ministry in the North End and particularly here in your Cathedral. It is a particular happiness to be present at this Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving for the Restoration of St. John's Cathedral. So much has been done, and I am particularly happy that much of the work is associated with previous bishops of this great diocese. The Font reminds us all of Bishop Anthony Emery and is a reminder of our Baptism and of all that springs from that gift of God by which we are brought into communion with Christ and with one another by the seeds of faith...

posted on 10 May 2001
Westminster Cathedral:

This is a long-awaited and happy day for the Diocese of Westminster. In the first reading, the Lord says, 'I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view' (Ezek. 34:11). Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd who keeps everyone in view, knows each one by name. But to be shepherding in His name, to keep all of this large and great Diocese in view, help is needed...

posted on 03 May 2001
Cathedral of Our Lady and St Thomas, Northampton:

There are many special moments in the ordination ceremony of a bishop. One particularly moving one is when the pastoral staff is passed on by the former bishop to the new bishop. Today it is being passed on by Bishop Leo to Bishop-elect Kevin, from one apostle to another. Both bishops have and will proclaim the same message, but there is a different voice and person. In the words of the Prophet Jeremiah, 'The Lord said, I will give you shepherds after my own heart.' Today, dear sisters and brothers in Christ, you have a new shepherd and the Diocese of Northampton is filled with joy as the People of God know that the Church, this local Church, will continue to be complete, whole, containing all that is necessary to belong and to be part of the Church of Jesus Christ....

posted on 15 April 2001
In his Easter sermon, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, proclaims the traditional Easter message of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He begins with a critique of contemporary society saying that, 'we live in a world that dampens faith, and can quickly diminish the joy and newness of the Good News of Jesus Christ, a culture that seeks to sway you from the search for goodness.'

posted on 17 September 2000
17 September, 2000 - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

In the Gospel that you will hear next week, Jesus says this: 'If anyone wants to be first he must make himself last of all and servant of all'. Then he took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms around him and said to them 'Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes not me, but the One who sent me' (Mk. 9:36-37). These words of Jesus strike a deep chord in us all. They also touch on a sensitive and very important subject on which I wish to speak to you today. ...

posted on 11 June 2000
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It with a sense of hope and expectation that I speak and write to you for the first time as Archbishop of Westminster. It is very appropriate that I should be doing this on this great feast of Pentecost. This feast is often called the birthday of the Church because on this day the Holy Spirit was poured into the hearts of those first disciples as they gathered together in the Upper Room. The gift of the Spirit was given to them so that they became not just a random collection of individuals but indeed the Body of Jesus Christ, the community that was, that is his Church...


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