The Cardinal's Coming To Town

Cormac Murphy-O'Connor to retire to Chiswick next year

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Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor


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It is quite possibly one of the worst kept secrets in Chiswick, well amongst the Roman Catholics anyway, but it has now been officially announced. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has chosen Chiswick as his new home and will take up residency in Dukes Avenue next year upon his retirement.

The Cardinal, who is also the Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, was born on 24 August 1932. He began training for the priesthood in 1950 at the Venerable English College, Rome. Whilst at the College, he took a degree in philosophy (PhL) and theology (STL) at the Gregorian University, Rome. He was ordained priest in Rome on 28 October 1956.

He was installed as tenth Archbishop of Westminster on 22 March 2000. In November 2000 he was elected President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. In February 2001 he was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II, and assigned the titular church of the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. The Basilica houses the relics of St Catherine of Siena, doctor of the Church and one of the Patron Saints of Europe, the tomb of the Dominican Friar Blessed Fra Angelico, the Patron Saint of Artists, the renowned 'Figure of the Risen Christ' by Michelangelo and frescoes by Fra Filippo Lippi.

He has been particularly interested in youth work, sacramental programmes and the development of small communities. His previous diocese of Arundel and Brighton was the first English diocese to initiate the 'Renew' programme.

In September 2000, he invited Lord Nolan to chair an independent review on child protection in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The Nolan Review published their First Report in April 2001 and their Final Report, A Programme for Action, in September 2001 out of which a new independent office has been established called 'COPCA' to oversee the protection of children and vulnerable adults.

In January 2002, at the invitation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor was the first member of the Catholic hierarchy since 1680 to deliver a sermon to an English monarch. This took place at Sandringham, the sovereign's country residence in Norfolk, during the Anglican morning service. Present with the Queen were members of her family and her household.

In April 2005 he was one of 125 cardinals who elected Pope Benedict XVI following the death of Pope John Paul II.

Among his personal hobbies and interests are music and sport. He is the author of The Family of the Church (1984) and At the Heart of the World (2004), and editor of Faith in Europe (2005) and Faith and Life in Britain (2008).

November 30, 2008