THE former Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, whose early career was spent in the Portsmouth area, has died.
The 85-year-old, who worked in Portsmouth and Fareham in the 1960s and 70s, became leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales in March 2000 before retiring from his role in 2009.
In 1966, Murphy-O’Connor became the private secretary to Bishop Derek Worlock of Portsmouth.
In September 1970, he was appointed parish priest of the Immaculate Conception church in Portswood, Southampton. Soon afterwards, in late 1971, he was appointed rector of the Venerable English College.
On November 17, 1977, Murphy-O’Connor was named Bishop of Arundel and Brighton by Pope Paul VI.
Her was appointed the tenth Archbishop of Westminster, and thus head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, in 2000
He was admitted to hospital last month but lost his fight with cancer yesterday.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the current Archbishop of Westminster, said in August Cardinal Murphy O’Connor’s health had ‘taken a defining turn’. In a message to Cardinal Vincent published on the Catholic Church’s website on yesterday afternoon, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said he had been ‘privileged’ to serve the diocese of Westminster.
He said: ‘‘I thank God for the many priests, religious and lay faithful who have helped and sustained me in my Episcopal life.
‘Nor should I forget the many Anglican and Free Church colleagues whose friendship I have valued very much.
‘Above all, as I now commend myself to the loving mercy of God, I ask them all to pray for me as I remember and pray for them.’