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Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor
Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor (born 24 August 1932 in Reading, Berkshire) is a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. Elevated to cardinal in consistory by Pope John Paul II, Murphy-O'Connor currently serves as the tenth Archbishop of Westminster and is Primate of England and Wales in the United Kingdom. He is also pastor of Westminster Cathedral in London and by virtue of his office is addressed officially as His Eminence.
Murphy O'Connor was one of five children. Two of his brothers also became priests. He was educated at Prior Park College , Bath, then began training for the priesthood in 1950 at the Venerable English College , Rome. Whilst in Rome, he took a degree in philosophy and theology at the Gregorian University, Rome. He was ordained as a priest in Rome on 28 October 1956. He first worked in parishes in Portsmouth and Fareham.
In 1966 Murphy O'Connor became private secretary and chaplain to the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt. Rev. Derek Worlock , later Archbishop of Liverpool. In September 1970, he was appointed parish priest in Portswood , Southampton. Soon afterwards, however, in late 1971, he was appointed Rector of the Venerable English College, Rome, with responsibility for the training of students for the priesthood. As Rector he hosted the Archbishop of Canterbury, Frederick Donald Coggan, on his historic visit to Pope Paul VI in 1977.
On 21 December 1977 Murphy-O'Connor was ordained Bishop of the diocese of Arundel and Brighton. He held important roles in the network of bishops across Europe and was also influential in ecumenical work; from 1982 to 2000 he was Co-Chairman of the Anglican and Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). In 2000 he was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, in recognition of his work for Christian unity.
Murphy O'Connor was installed as Archbishop of Westminster on 22 March 2000 and 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 was presented with the titular church of the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva . The Basilica houses the relics of Saint Catherine of Siena and several other important works and relics. He was considered an outsider for the papacy but thought more likely to play the role of kingmaker in the 2005 conclave to select a successor to the late Pope.
The Cardinal was appointed to four Vatican offices: the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, the Pontifical Council for the Study of Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See and the Presidential Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family. He also sits on Vatican committees on culture and youth.
In August 2001 the Cardinal was created a Freeman of the City of London. In 2002, at Sandringham, he became the first Roman Catholic official since 1680 to preach a sermon to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.
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