Archbishop's 'message' to the Vatican denied - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
June 6, 2005

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Archbishop's 'message' to the Vatican denied

-06/06/05

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has denied that a sermon he preached on Sunday was an attempt to send a message to the new Pope Benedict XVI about the future of the Catholic church.

The statement from the Archbishop of Westminster's press office comes after a story in today's Financial Times (FT) which suggests that the Archbishop's sermon, which was broadcast on Radio 4, "strongly, if implicitly, opposed the direction the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI has indicated the Church should take".

"His sermon was a clear sign of the discomfort a minority of liberals feel with the pronouncements of a Pope who said he would welcome the Church shrinking in size, so long as it could become purer in doing so" the article said.

The Cardinal's sermon yesterday came as part of a service broadcast on Radio 4's Sunday Worship programme to mark the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.

The service was a mixture of meditations by the Cardinal and Mgr Mark Langham, and music sung by Westminster Cathedral's choir.

The idea for the service came from the BBC after it learned of the anniversary and a conference at Worth Abbey in July.

In its article, the FT suggested that the choice of "Gaudium et Spes" was intended to put a distance between the Cardinal and Rome, because of Pope Benedict's supposed opposition to the Second Vatican Council.

But a statement from the Cardinal's press office has pointed out that Cardinal Ratzinger was a 'peritus theological expert' at the Council and was heavily involved in the drafting of "Gaudium et Spes".

Since becoming Pope, Benedict XVI has cited the Second Vatican Council 15 times in his first 50 days, according to John Allen, the Vatican watcher.

"Sundayís Worship was simply what it appears to be: a celebration of the anniversary of a major conciliar document" the statement says.

The FT however pointed out that in the service, the cardinal and Monsignor Mark Langham, the cathedral's administrator, endorsed the spirit and substance of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, and of "Gaudium et Spes" (Joy and Hope), the most liberal of its four main documents.

The council and the "Gaudium et Spes", which was the only document proposed from the floor of the council and not introduced by the Church hierarchy, also met with opposition from Pope Benedict, who viewed their consequences as too liberal.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said yesterday that "Gaudium et Spes" caused a revolution in the Church. "It firmly inserted the Church into the modern world. 'Gaudium et Spes' cast an eye over the great questions of humanity, and declared that these, too, were the great questions of the Church," he said.

Mgr Langham said that with the Second Vatican Council and "Gaudium et Spes", the Church "no longer saw itself as a fortress, with its members besieged behind ramparts of doctrine and authority".

Pope Benedict has laid even greater emphasis than John Paul II on the doctrine and authority of the Church.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor ended his sermon by saying that "in 'Gaudium et Spes', the world is no longer divided between allies and enemies, believers and non-believers."

Find books now:

Archbishop's 'message' to the Vatican denied

-06/06/05

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has denied that a sermon he preached on Sunday was an attempt to send a message to the new Pope Benedict XVI about the future of the Catholic church.

The statement from the Archbishop of Westminster's press office comes after a story in today's Financial Times (FT) which suggests that the Archbishop's sermon, which was broadcast on Radio 4, "strongly, if implicitly, opposed the direction the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI has indicated the Church should take".

"His sermon was a clear sign of the discomfort a minority of liberals feel with the pronouncements of a Pope who said he would welcome the Church shrinking in size, so long as it could become purer in doing so" the article said.

The Cardinal's sermon yesterday came as part of a service broadcast on Radio 4's Sunday Worship programme to mark the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.

The service was a mixture of meditations by the Cardinal and Mgr Mark Langham, and music sung by Westminster Cathedral's choir.

The idea for the service came from the BBC after it learned of the anniversary and a conference at Worth Abbey in July.

In its article, the FT suggested that the choice of "Gaudium et Spes" was intended to put a distance between the Cardinal and Rome, because of Pope Benedict's supposed opposition to the Second Vatican Council.

But a statement from the Cardinal's press office has pointed out that Cardinal Ratzinger was a 'peritus theological expert' at the Council and was heavily involved in the drafting of "Gaudium et Spes".

Since becoming Pope, Benedict XVI has cited the Second Vatican Council 15 times in his first 50 days, according to John Allen, the Vatican watcher.

"Sunday's Worship was simply what it appears to be: a celebration of the anniversary of a major conciliar document" the statement says.

The FT however pointed out that in the service, the cardinal and Monsignor Mark Langham, the cathedral's administrator, endorsed the spirit and substance of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, and of "Gaudium et Spes" (Joy and Hope), the most liberal of its four main documents.

The council and the "Gaudium et Spes", which was the only document proposed from the floor of the council and not introduced by the Church hierarchy, also met with opposition from Pope Benedict, who viewed their consequences as too liberal.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said yesterday that "Gaudium et Spes" caused a revolution in the Church. "It firmly inserted the Church into the modern world. 'Gaudium et Spes' cast an eye over the great questions of humanity, and declared that these, too, were the great questions of the Church," he said.

Mgr Langham said that with the Second Vatican Council and "Gaudium et Spes", the Church "no longer saw itself as a fortress, with its members besieged behind ramparts of doctrine and authority".

Pope Benedict has laid even greater emphasis than John Paul II on the doctrine and authority of the Church.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor ended his sermon by saying that "in 'Gaudium et Spes', the world is no longer divided between allies and enemies, believers and non-believers."

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