Senior Christian leaders and politicians gathered for the funeral of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor at Westminster Cathedral on Wednesday.
Leading figures from the Church, including Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Adams, were joined by senior clerics from other Christian denominations as well as peers and parliamentarians.
In his homily, Archbishop of Cardiff George Stack described the cardinal as a “priest to his fingertips” who was “aware of his failings, yet supremely confident in his calling.”
Reflecting on his ecumenical work, the archbishop said he was able to “reach out in meaningful and constructive ways to other churches”. Examples include “his membership and scholarly contribution to the conclusions of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission” and “his conviction that unity of mind and heart amongst the followers of Christ were not optional extras but sorely needed in a fragmented world.”
In an apparent reference to the cardinal’s handling of the Fr Michael Hill abuse case, Archbishop Stack said Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor learned “a huge lesson” and “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.”
Among those present were the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Archbishop Gregorios of the Greek Orthodox Church.
The Duke of Norfolk represented the Prince of Wales at the funeral, while Catholic politicians such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, Lord Alton of Liverpool and Damian Green also attended.