Archbishop: Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor had ‘wonderful combination of gifts’
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor was praised as a “priest to his fingertips” during a funeral Mass at Westminster Cathedral.
Archbishop George Stack of Cardiff, said in a homily that the former Archbishop of Westminster was a gifted man who put his talents at the “service of God and the Church and society at large.”
He told mourners that in the weeks approaching the cardinal’s death on 1st September, the prelate had grown “impatient to be gone,” knowing that his “life’s work was done.”
“What a life and what a work,” said Archbishop Stack, who had previously served as an auxiliary bishop of Westminster under Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor.
“Cormac was a priest to his fingertips,” he said. “He was comfortable in his own skin. He was aware of his failings, yet supremely confident in his calling.
“He was a gifted man who would have made a success of whatever career he chose,” he said. “Medicine or music – maybe even golf or perhaps rugby. … Yet from an early age he was convinced he should be a priest.”
“His gift for friendship and his capacity for putting people at their ease, together with his insightful mind and depth of faith, were a wonderful combination of gifts,” the archbishop continued. “He generously put them at the service of God and the church and society at large.”
Such gifts, Archbishop Stack explained, enabled the cardinal to reach out to other Christians in ecumenical dialogue that he was convinced was “sorely needed in a fragmented world” and to wider society in the belief that faith and religion were “necessary contributions to a complex world.”
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was also a man of sufficient humility to learn from his mistakes, the archbishop added, alluding to his re-appointment of Father Michael Hill, a known pedophile who went on to abuse other children.
Archbishop Stack said: “He acknowledged his mistakes. He made no excuses. He said the most difficult words of all: ‘I’m sorry’. He learned a huge lesson and proceeded to establish the most robust safeguarding mechanism possible, a model for other institutions. Humility and action were part of the robe that he wore.”
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor retired in 2009, and he died just a week after his 85th birthday, surrounded by friends and members of his family.
Like his predecessors, he was buried inside Westminster Cathedral. His grave is under the 10th Station of the Cross.
The cardinal’s funeral was attended by about 1,200 invited guests. They included the Duke of Norfolk, a Catholic, who represented Prince Charles; Irish President Mary McAleese; Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and his predecessor, Lord (Rowan) Williams of Oystermouth.
Picture: The mitre of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and other religious items lie on his coffin in Westminster Cathedral. Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, a longtime leader in Catholic-Anglican relations and former archbishop of Westminster, died on 1st September aged 85.Tags: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, catholic, funeral, London, Westminster Cathedral