Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has urged the Catholic media in Britain to “nourish” the faithful and “open up new avenues” for the faith.
Speaking at the official launch of the new Catholic Herald magazine yesterday, the Emeritus Archbishop of Westminster said: “I think the Catholic Herald has a part to play in the opening up of new avenues. I hope that, in the time to come, there will be writers not only reaching regular audiences but going beyond to reach new readers, nourishing them and inviting them to understand more our Catholic faith.”
Addressing guests at the event at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, central London, he said the Catholic Herald had “got off to a great start”.
Explaining the importance of forming new connections, the cardinal cited Pope Francis reaching out to Pentecostals.
He said: “I had an audience with Pope Francis two or three months ago. For most of the time we talked about Pentecostals. I looked at a video on YouTube of the Pope addressing a very large group of Evangelicals. He said: ‘I don’t speak English, but I am going to speak the language of the heart.’ In other words, he began with them where they are.
“I think connections are crucial today. I think the future of the Catholic Church in our country is bright. But it depends on forming really vibrant Catholic communities.
“We worry that parishes are diminishing in numbers, but I think if we have vibrant Catholic communities, filled with the authentic tradition of the Church, filled with what Pope Francis calls ‘the joy of the Gospel’, then there’s an eager audience out there.”
Reflecting on the Church in Britain, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said: “I had a very good friend who was a devout Catholic who worked for a few years in Paris. I went and stayed with him, and during our conversation I said: ‘Tell me, what’s the difference between being a Catholic in France and being a Catholic in England?’ He thought for a moment and said: ‘There’s a French word rigueur and I find as a Catholic here in France I have to give a rigorous account of why I’m a Catholic. Even at work, they say: “You believe. Why do you believe?” The French are very logical and I find I have to give an account of my faith. I don’t find that in England at all. No one asks why I’m a Catholic or why I’m a believer.’
“So I applaud the Herald for having a rigueur about its Catholic faith and very clearly that comes out week after week.”
Sir Rocco Forte said that the launch of the Catholic Herald magazine was the most “radical departure” at the newspaper since its establishment in 1888. He said: “The Catholic Herald appeals mostly to a Catholic audience and the idea of turning it into a magazine is to broaden its appeal and to give scope to deal with the broader moral issues.”
The guest of honour at the launch was Princess Michael of Kent. Other guests included Iain Duncan Smith, Fr Christopher Jamison, Lord Alton of Liverpool and Francis Campbell, former British Ambassador to the Holy See.
The Catholic Herald published its last issue as a broadsheet last month, after 126 years as a newspaper. The Catholic Herald magazine was launched on December 5, with a cover story by Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.