Grim news as La Stampa reports that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is a close adviser of Pope Francis

La Stampa is reporting the grim news that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is a close adviser of Pope Francis, confirming something that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said in his recent interview with The Catholic Herald when he boasted that Pope Francis greeted him after his election by saying jokingly, ‘It’s all your fault’.

La Stampa reports:

‘Then there is the over 80-year-old British cardinal Murphy O’Connor, who plays less of a centre-stage role. He certainly did not see eye to eye with Benedict XVI when it came to bishop-related issues but under Francis’ pontificate he seems to have gained in importance and Francis consults him often. The Nuncio to Great Britain seems to be conscious of this “hotline” to the Pope and the two apparently speak more regularly than before.’

Why is this grim news for the faithful and loyal Catholics of England and Wales? What kind of advice will Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor be giving to Pope Francis?

Cardinal Murphy O’Connor on English bishops

The Tablet reported in May 2012:

Bishop Davies appointment has certainly delighted conservatives; he recently handed the running of a parish to a traditionalist group, who exclusively celebrate the old rite. It would appear that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was absent when the congregation settled on Bishop Davies for Shrewsbury. “That’ll teach me to miss the plane”, he is said to have quipped.”

The Tablet explains the Cardinal’s attitude towards Bishop Mark Davies, who has courageously spoken out against gay marriage and the persecution of UK Christians, as stemming from his belief that ‘bishops will be more effective if they are diplomatic sorts rather than “cultural warriors”.

Cardinal Murphy O’Connor on Catholic hospitals compromising over abortions

Cardinal Murphy O’Connor required the entire orthodox board of Ss John & Elizabeth Hospital  to resign in favour of his own candidates General Lord Charles Guthrie as Chairman and Sir Mark Allen (yes he of the Libyan renditions connection) to chair the ethics committee. The Code of Ethics was eviscerated at the request of the non-Catholic doctors at the Hospital and in particular the ban on referrals for abortion was removed. They were not going to allow a row over a few condoms to spoil the financial success of the Hospital.

Lord Guthrie and Sir Mark Allen went to Rome and came back saying Rome had approved. Cardinal Cormac gave the new code his blessing. However Rome had in no way approved and indeed had told them that this was a principle for which people should be prepared to go to the stake to defend, which apparently somewhat puzzled the General and Sir Mark as they mentioned to the British Ambassador. Rome was informed of their claims and subsequently the ban on referrals was put back. Whether anything in the Code is actually followed is a matter of speculation. Complete secularisation is anticipated; the Anscombe Bioethics Centre and the Catholic Medical Association were forced to leave the premises. The future involvement of the Order in Malta is now in some doubt.

Cardinal Murphy O’Connor on active homosexual life-styles

Cardinal Murphy O’Connor was responsible for establishing the Soho Masses organised by the Soho Masses Pastoral Council which included active homosexuals such as Martin Pendergast and Terence Weldon. About the conditions set by Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor for the Soho Masses, ‘Martin Pendergast (founder of the SMPC) said: ‘I can assure others who have commented that there was no demand on us to remain celibate and agree that homosexual acts are wrong’ and also Terence Weldon (Eucharistic Minister and SMPC committee member) said: ‘I agree with my friend and colleague Martin…who notes that during the extensive consultation process around the Soho gay Masses, Bishop Longley at no time expressed any demand that we remain celibate or agree with Church teaching.’” (Bishop Longley was acting on behalf of Cardinal Murphy O’Connor).

Cardinal Murphy O’Connor on condoms

When asked about the use of condoms in Africa to protect against HIV infection and death, the cardinal responded: “First, I’d say that it’s right for the church to preach chastity, that sexual intercourse is for within marriage. But God knows, people just do not live up to ideals. While we can say that, objectively, the use of condoms is wrong, there are places where it might be licit, or allowable, as when there’s a danger of intercourse leading to death. It would be wrong to take a special case and make it a universal law. There is such a thing as objective morality, where things are either right or wrong; but there are also subjective matters that affect whether a thing is slightly wrong or not wrong at all. That’s what we’re talking about in this case. So I would agree with Cardinal Danneels’s position.”

Compare Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s words on condoms with Pope Benedict’s in his interview ‘Light of the World’:

Mr Seewald asks the Pope about his statement on the way to Africa in March 2009 that condoms were not the solution to the Aids crisis.

‘Pope Benedict replies: “Someone had asked me why the Catholic Church adopts an unrealistic and ineffective position on Aids.

“At that point, I really felt that I was being provoked, because the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim. Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many Aids victims, especially children with Aids.

He continued: ”In my remarks I was not making a general statement about the condom issue, but merely said, and this is what caused such great offense, that we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms. Much more needs to be done. We must stand close to the people, we must guide and help them; and we must do this both before and after they contract the disease.

“As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen.

“Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work. This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalisation of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves.

“This is why the fight against the banalisation of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.”

He added: “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanisation of sexuality.”

Mr Seewald then asks the Pope whether he is saying that the Church is not opposed in principle to condoms.

The Pope answers: “She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”

Protect the Pope comment: If La Stampa’s report is correct then as faithful and loyal Catholics we had better steel ourselves for a series of decisions about bishops and other vital areas of the life of the church that will entrench the dominance of the liberal dissenters that we’ve lived under for the past 40 years. This is the irony of the times in which we live, dissenters like The Tablet and A Call to Action are reacting as if they have been freed from a Babylonian Captivity when their world-view has dominated the Church in England and Wales. And it looks like we’re going to be subjected to more of the Magic Circle.


52 comments to Grim news as La Stampa reports that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is a close adviser of Pope Francis

  • Joseph Matthew

    If this analysis is correct then we should prepare ourselves for more Conrys and less Egans.

  • Wake up England

    I suppose we’ll really see this new Pope in his true colours, won’t we?

    Pity, in my opinion, that the old Pope abdicated; especially now we’re hearing he’s so well.

    “Thy Will be done on Earth – as it is in Heaven”

  • Joseph Matthew

    Just had a look at the list of the other close advisors. Grim news all around! And what is that young woman who created a certain scandal doing there ? The media would have had a field day if the Pope had been Benedict.
    We have to remind ourselves that there is something all too human at the top, the gates of hell will not prevail, and outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation.

  • Augustine

    La Stampa reports “under Francis’ pontificate he (Cardinal Cormac) seems to have gained in importance and Francis consults him often.”

    Now who would have told them that?

  • Paul Waddington

    This could explain the delay in the appointment of bishops. Brentwood, Liverpool, Leeds, Hallam and Plymouth are outstanding.

    The only appointment made in this pontificate is East Anglia, and Cormac Murphy O’Connor would have approved of Bishop Hopes, one of his men.

  • ms Catholic state

    Off topic (though maybe not)….a business magazine calls for us to admit that the Catholic Church has always been right on contraception. Wow!

  • Sonja

    Sorry, but I don’t believe an English speaking Cardinal who was not even eligible to vote at the last conclave can have that much influence over an Italian/Spanish speaking pope — however, much he may publicly boast that he has his ear. I have greater faith in the personally selected 8 cardinals advising the Pope. Cardinal Cormac may have some good standing — because he is not seen to be part of the Curia machinery at the Vatican — but I have greater confidence in the Holy Spirit guiding the Pope and who he chooses to keep close.

  • Chrysostom

    I am afraid that the record of Cardinal Murphy O’Connor when Bishop of Arundel and Brighton was not a good one concerning priests who had committed sexual rapes upon children, and at least one notorious offender was given another job where he had easy access to children – with the obvious results. The Cardinal said, in his defence, ” we did not know what to do, in those days” but any school would have told him exactly how to deal with these appalling men – it is not to “recycle” them so they can rape other innocent children. The Catholic Church in England has not faced up to the problem of sex abuse, as a recent article in the admirable “Christian Order” makes clear. Nor has the new pope said much about these sexual attacks on the innocent – although Our Blessed Lord said that for those who harmed children it would be preferable to be at the bottom of the sea with a millstone round the neck. For some Catholics, the crime of sexual attacks by priests on children makes this age not the “greatest age in the history of the Church” but the worst and most shameful. Sexual abuse has emptied the Catholic churches of Ireland and reduced ordinations to almost zero. I have heard it said that this corruption of children by the clergy (the very ones who should be protecting them) has always gone on. I know of no evidence that this happened on any scale before the 1960s. The great enemies of the Church – Rousseau, Voltaire, Proudhon, et al, told many stories of the “evils” of the Catholic Church, (Nuns carrying on with priests, etc) but none of these, to my knowledge, accused the Church of the sexual abuse of children.

    • Benedict Carter

      Chrysostom, the dating of the appearance of this scourge is precisely known: it was in the middle 1950′s when the Servants of the Paraclete, an American Order set up by its holy founder specifically to give residence and spiritual help to priests in trouble (drunks, affairs with women etc.), noted in his letters (hair-raising they are too, and available online) to Bishops that he was seeing for the first time ever homosexual priests and predatory homosexual attacks on children. He warned Bishop after Bishop. He warned Paul VI, who I believe tightened up Canon Law as a result of the warnings given by this Fr. Fitzgerald. It was exactly these provisions of Canon Law that the American, Irish and British Bishops entirely ignored which facilitated the movement of these devils from one parish to another.

      Mid 1950′s. The problem appeared not to have existed before then.

  • Mark Thorne

    Isn’t Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor meant to have retired? – you could easily be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

    I fear that the Catholic Church may be heading for a schism that could be potentially as damaging as the Reformation. On one side will be those who interpret the Council of Vatican II correctly and authentically; on the other will be those who embrace the nonsensical “spirit of Vatican II”. Pope Francis faces a number of important doctrinal challenges in the coming months. For example, if the Extraordinary Synod of the Family results in those couples in their “second marriages” who are feeling “left out” by the Church being readmitted to Holy Communion even though they are flagrantly living in adultery, then surely Holy Matrimony will no longer be classifiable as a Sacrament (as if the UK Parliament destroying marriage isn’t already bad enough). Even the possibility of extending intercommunion to Christians of other denominations who couldn’t be described as being in a state of Grace will be another sticking point. Will loyal Catholics courageously stand their ground as “counter-reformers”, or will they be tempted to become schismatics like holy souls entering into exile, if only to escape the clutches of the ruling hierarchy, asking only for “crumbs” of Grace from the Lord’s banquet table for their actions?

    However, I see clear signs of hope for the Church in this country. Based on my experiences of conversing with several of them, to a man I have found that the present crop of seminarians are orthodox in their outlook and demonstrate their love for the Catechism. The increasing numbers of young responding to their vocation and entering into the state of religious life is encouraging. Converts who have been won for the Church during the papacy of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI must stand and fight for what they have come to believe in. Once the “baby-boomer” generations of Bishops has passed away, I pray that normal service will be resumed and these dark times will pass away, like a thunderstorm!

    • Max McKenna

      Mark, I think you may be right about the schism, unfortunately – though I think things may be a good while yet coming to a head. I think Pope Emeritus Benedict may have foreseen it, too.

      I was heartened by something the Holy Father said recently – though I cannot find the quote. He said something like ‘We cannot go back to how things were’. I think he had the 1950s in mind, but it applies equally well to the dreaded 1970s. Too much water has gone under the bridge, and too many of us have been formed by John Paul II and Benedict for thing simply to go back to that – as your conversations with our priests of tomorrow would appear to suggest. Father Timothy Finigan of Hermeneutic of Continuity suggests we pray each day the prayer for the Church and the prayer for the Pope from the Orationes Diversae of the 1962 Roman Missal. In addition, I’ve been making Tuesdays and Fridays fasting days for the same intentions.

      • Mark Thorne

        Dear Max, Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I saw that comment of Pope Francis’ too, and believed he was referring to the 1950s as well.

        Father Tim Finigan’s blog is great. I’ve been adding special intentions for Pope Francis in my rosaries, but will follow Fr Tim’s suggestion – thanks for drawing this to my attention. God Bless, Mark.

  • Mersey Mercy

    Most uncharitable of me I know but the more I hear of what’s going on in the Church, the more I want to punch someone squarely on the nose!

  • Genty

    CMOC may have retired officially, but he can’t stop politicking. It’s his forte (he didn’t get where he is today . . . .).
    Interestingly, Longley, his successor at the previously-thought dead-and- buried ARCIC has been in Rome, as is CMOC’s chum Arthur Roche and preferred candidate, allegedly, to succeed CMOC at Westminster.
    I wonder if it’s possible to have a Cardinal Archbishop of Liverpool?

  • Rifleman 819

    Is this a struggle between the Nuncio and the Cardinal Emeritus?

    Cormac++ should be superglued to his golf buggy and told to stay away from the next generation of the church.

    The Holy Father can essentially do what he wants with the red hat distribution.

    We shall see……….

    • Martin

      He’s not the Cardinal Emeritus, he’s the Archbishop Emeritus. He’s still a Cardinal. Anyway, yes, I believe it is a struggle between them – there have been rumours of a plot to remove the nuncio, cf. Damian Thompson.

  • Lynda

    … It’s all of a piece.

  • Pedro de Luna

    I really wouldn’t get too upset Deacon Nick. Most of the world’s people are non-Catholic and will completely ignore Pope Francis. Of those who claim to be Catholic, 90% will nod and smile at whatever he says and ignore anything that happens to be inconvenient.

    This is exactly how it has been for at least the past half century. So you see, nothing has really changed and Pope Francis won’t have anything like the insidious influence that so worries you. Go to bed tonight, safe in the knowledge that no one will pay any more attention to Pope Francis than they did to Pope Benedict.

    Incidentally (and brace yourself for a slightly tongue in cheek disrespectful comment) has anyone noted that Francis and Benedict could well have been the founders of a well known restaurant chain?

    • Denis

      I find it extraordinary that there are people who comment on how irrelevant the Church and the Pope are and yet take time to place this message on sites such as this. If the Church has little or no influence then why do you feel the need to waste time by pointing that out?

    • Wake up England

      Dear Pedro,

      Just because you’re living in sin with your soon-to-be “husband” does not mean we have all abandoned our Catholic roots and beliefs.

      Don’t tar the rest of us with your cynical brush of mockery.

      • Pedro de Luna

        Yes, we’ve been happily living in sin for 30 years now. Have a nice day WUE.

        • Wake up England

          Pedro de Luna (alias Peter Moon)

          Fee Fi Fo Fum,
          I smell a Troll who’s out for fun,
          Peter Moon is this Troll’s name
          And Camp old nonsense is his game.

          Fi Fi Fo Fum,
          One day Moon will come undone!
          Jesus says that He’s not lenient
          to an unrepentant deviant.

          Fi Fi Fo Fum
          when your death comes and life is done,
          let’s pray your judgement all goes well;
          That you don’t feel the fires of Hell.

  • Eleanor Peters

    I am disgusted with most Catholics. They are in lust and not love. They should be sat down while any priest or parent explains it to them. Lust does not last. Love does. Commitment does. I like the old ways where a catholic marries a Catholic and some one of there own race. Remember that ? It worked. Because each one understood each other and it lasted. Divorce is a common thing now. The answer to many a thing not understood. It seems the church is full of people who want to change it. So it fell apart and will not be whole again untill GOD,S will is honored again.. amen

  • Eustace

    Dear Deacon!
    Your website apparently wishes to protect the Pope, but your articles seem to present negative suppositions regardless from whatever source that may bring the Cardinal emeritus of GB into disrepute.
    Please reconsider changing the name of your blog, or search for positive comments or blogs that support your own positive attitude to the present Pope.
    With deep sympathies….

  • Joseph Matthew

    Dear Deacon!
    Please do not change the name of your blog. Sometimes Pope Francis needs to be protected from,well,Francis. Your blog helps us support the Holy Father when he speaks in the light of Tradition. A liberal Catholic is one who rejects the Papal magisterium but blindly obeys a Papal interview with an atheist.

    • Eustace

      Silly supposition! You need to protect yourself from yourself… to use your logic.

      • Joseph Matthew

        Correct supposition Eustace. Sometimes Pope Francis says something off the cuff which appears meaningless. For example, youth unemployment is the most evil thing in the world. I am sure he does not mean that unemployment is worse than rape or genocide.

  • Bob Hayes

    Is La Stampa’s account accurate or just spin? What are its sources? I suppose it is plausible that CMOC-the-Fixer – reflecting on his time in the limelight (such as welcoming unrepentant warmongers into the Church) and still coveting a seat in the Lords – may have helped a journalist earn a crust with this story.

    • Martin

      I never understood why a man with the dignity of Cardinal, Prince of the Church, Roman Prince – a man whose hand the King of Spain would kiss – would desire the mere title of Baron in a grubby appointed legislature. Bizarre.

  • Rifleman 819

    Bob Hayes,

    For all his faults at least the last Cardinal politician…..Thomas Wolsey….had as much ability as hubris.

    More modern versions have all the vanity but lack the essential capability.

    Over-promoted from an exceptionally poor field to start with.

  • pattif

    I think we all need to bombard Abp Mennini with letters thanking him for his work and, in particular, for his part in the appointments of + Davies and +Egan. We should tell him how much we are praying for him to find men of a similar calibre ( a few examples would do no harm), to fill the forthcoming vacancies amongst the E&W bishops. I have a hunch Abp M might be vulnerable following the departure of Cdl Bertone.

    • Sonja

      Writing to the Nuncio sounds like a good idea — and maybe copy Marc Ouellet at the Vatican. But hopefully the Nuncio also reads this blog. It does shed light on a lot he should know.

    • Wake up England


      Jolly good idea.

      What’s his name rank and number?

      Please post here how we address him (Your Excellency, I suppose if he’s an Ambassador?) and how it is best to contact him.

      Please do the groundwork for us all on this one so we can, as you suggest, write to him.

      Thanks WUE

  • Wake up England


    have you an address for Cardinal Ouellet? Or an email address?

    Can you find it out, please, and post it here?

    We all do a lot of complaining but not enough thanking; so I think demonstrating some gratitude where it’s due is a great idea.

  • Bob Hayes

    WUE, postal address:

    Marc Cardinal Ouellet
    Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
    Palazzo della Congregazioni,
    00193 Roma,
    Piazza Pio XII, 10

  • pattif

    WuE – The Nuncio’s contact details are:

    His Excellency Archbishop Antonio Mennini
    The Apostolic Nunciature
    54 Parkside
    London SW19 5NE

    He should be addressed as ” Your Excellency”.

  • Wake up England

    Great, well done for posting the addresses. Thank you both.

    NOW we must all actually get on and write the letters.

    Talk’s cheap. Writing a letter takes effort.

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