Card. Murphy-O’Connor won’t be in the House of Lords

I picked up from Paolo Rodari’s blog, Palazzo Apostolico, that the Holy Father denied permission to His Eminence Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster, to enter the House of Lords. 

Not only is the Cardinal still a member of the Congregation for Bishops, there is also a canon in the 1983 which prohibits priests from holding public office.

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25 Responses to Card. Murphy-O’Connor won’t be in the House of Lords

  1. shane says:

    Thank God. An archbishop is the ecclesiastical equivalent of a duke anyway. A life peerage would be an insult.

  2. That is good news. I really think it’d be extremely bad to have a catholic Archbishop as a court man in a country that is officialy protestant.

  3. Roland de Chanson says:

    Why in the name of St. Patrick, St. Brendan, St. Columcille, St. Brigid and all the other innumerable saints and scholars of Hibernia, anyone bearing the names of Murphy and O’Connor would condescend to sit in the house of lords is beyond comprehension.

    Pápa Beinidict XVI go brach!

    (The above-mentioned Saints forgive me if I’ve murdered the Irish language.)

  4. shane says:

    weatherman, the United Kingdom is not a Protestant country. The succession to the throne is Protestant (like in Australia and Canada, with are in personal union with the UK), additionally England and Scotland maintain established churches, but the corporate conglomerate has not been Protestant since the Irish Church Act (1869) deleted Article Five of the Act of Union (1800). The Lords Spiritual are a hangover from the Parliament of England.

  5. shane says:

    Thankfully, the House of Lords will be abolished in the not too distant future anyway.

  6. Deimater says:

    I do not share Shane’s enthusiasm for the abolition of the House of Lords by the Labour government. As Shane points out, many of the Lords are members of the clergy whose point of view often sharply differs from the anti-life mentality espoused by the Labour government (whence part of their zeal to see the House gone). Many of the lords used to take their seat in virtue of their birth. These lords could give sober second thought to legislation, without having to worry about public opinion or the Prime Minister’s punitive measures for “unco-operative members”. Finally, institutions like the House of Lords are what give the UK its particular character: grandeur, splendour, history, tradition, even a touch of magic. The Left wants to take all that away and replace it with its drab, modern, democratic, politically correct institutions which, assuredly, will make Britons much happier and productive etc. We’ve heard it all before here in Canada. It’s a shame it’s taken hold in the UK, too. God save the Queen.

  7. Deimater says:

    Roland de Chanson, I understand very well why Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor would want to sit in the House of Lords. So clearly it is not beyond everyone’s comprehension, just your comprehension.

  8. Grabski says:

    Why would a Murphy, or an O’connor, want to be in the British House of Lords anyway?

  9. jvicente says:

    Dearest Deimater:

    You understand so well why Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor would want to be in the House of Lords. Of your charity would you explain it to the rest of us naifs?

  10. Roland de Chanson says:

    “Deimater”,

    A hit, a very palpable hit. Though inflicted not with a rapier but a truncheon. The preferred weapon of Peelers.

    Yet I laud your unabashed Anglophilia. Britons never never never shall be slaves. At least until the Established Religion of the realm follows Mr. Rowan Williams penchant for sharia. Mrs. Windsor, his boss, has yet to weigh in however.

    And may I proffer a small suggestion? Lose the blasphemous moniker. [And while I think the handle could be changed, I believe this is my blog and that I get to moderate it. Furthermore, I also don’t favor when people assume historical names to post. FWIW … o{];¬) ]

  11. TNCath says:

    The whole thing was just ridiculous in the first place. Why Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor didn’t see that is equally ridiculous.

  12. Re: Irish name

    Well, gosh. Why would someone named Murphy or O’Connor want to be a UK citizen, then?

    Let’s not be more stupid than we can help. The problem with England is not enough Irish people, not too many. :)

    Re: House of Lords

    Becoming a Lord Temporal is not really part of the contemporary Church, but it certainly wasn’t a problem back in the Middle Ages, before Henry VIII was a gleam in the Plantagenet’s or aethelings’ eyes. So… it’s not a matter of doctrine, but rather a prudential discipline decision. And it’s sad, because a pastoral exception might have been very useful to the Catholic Church; but there’s too many twits who would whine about it, even if one retired bishop were allowed to do even this.

  13. shane says:

    “As Shane points out, many of the Lords are members of the clergy whose point of view often sharply differs from the anti-life mentality espoused by the Labour government”

    Not correct. The Church of England episcopacy are card-carrying members of the New Left and are utterly useless on abortion (which by convention, they do not vote on anyway).

    “Many of the lords used to take their seat in virtue of their birth.”

    Correct. The right to sit in the Lords by virtue of a hereditary title was abolished by the House of Lords Act (1999).

    “These lords could give sober second thought to legislation, without having to worry about public opinion or the Prime Minister’s punitive measures for “unco-operative members”.

    The vast majority of members of the pre-Reformed Lords were party affiliated and hence subject to the party whip. In fact there are more cross-benchers (150) since the Lords were reformed.

    The pre-Reformed Lords was effectively a rubber-stamping chamber. It has rejected more legislation since in the 10 years since it was reformed than in the decade previous. The Government could always shove legislation through the Parliament Act anyway.

    “Finally, institutions like the House of Lords are what give the UK its particular character: grandeur, splendour, history, tradition, even a touch of magic.”

    Most of the hereditary lords owe their position to their Reformation and the subsequent resulting (direct and indirect) iniquitous Land Settlements. I find it offensive that people who owe their status to historic plunders and anti-Catholic dispossessions have an automatic title to lord it over us commoners. The Protestant Reformation was one of the most tragic events in history, and I certainly don’t want it institutionalized in parliamentary democracy.

    “Land The Left wants to take all that away”

    Opposition to the HoL is found accross the political spectrum, not just “the Left”. The Conservative Party favours an elected upper house. Daniel Hannan MEP has called it Britain’s biggest quango.

    “and replace it with its drab, modern, democratic, politically correct institutions”

    That’s why it should not be replaced – it should be abolished.

    “God save the Queen.”

    I have no objection to God saving the Queen.

  14. dcs says:

    And it’s sad, because a pastoral exception might have been very useful to the Catholic Church; but there’s too many twits who would whine about it, even if one retired bishop were allowed to do even this.

    IMHO, the problem is that he is retired. A retired bishop should not be permitted to overshadow his successor.

  15. I think it’s more likely to be a case of “We said that clergy can’t take civil offices, and we meant it.” No exceptions! At least not right now, when people are so off-balance, and when all that weird South American stuff is going on.

    Or are there a bunch of other prince-bishops still around, lording it over their tiny sovereign territories, besides the Pope himself who’s stuck with Vatican City? I wasn’t aware that any Catholic bishops, abbots, or abbesses anywhere in the world were in their parliaments anymore in virtue of their office or their election. And I guess that other than the cardinals for electing the Pope, there aren’t any more elector bishops anywhere….

    If anything, a retired bishop would be a) ready to kick the bucket and b) not neglecting his see. But this pope is very big on nudging the layfolk to do their job (temporal action, like politics) and the clergy to do theirs, so temporal civil posts for bishops are not something he’d want to encourage.

  16. Geoffrey says:

    It’s interesting to note that as a Prince of the Church, His Eminence is equal to princes of royal blood, such as the Prince of Wales, etc.

  17. Yes, Mr. Geoffrey. The Cardinal is a Vatican Prince, so it would not be acceptable he sits in another cvountry’s parliament.

  18. Deimater says:

    Roland de Chanson,

    Why do you believe my moniker to be blasphemous? I gather you figured out that it is Latin for “Mother of God”, a title that defends the Triune God and honours the Virgin. How is any of that blasphemous? Unless you imagine that my using it as a name is somehow blasphemous, in which case you will then have to decry all those who carry the name Jesus and Mary as blasphemers.

  19. Relax, folks. Breathe deeply.

  20. Deimater says:

    Shane,

    Sincere thanks for your contribution. I found many of your thoughts helpful.

    I will insist on the value of having clergy in the Upper House. They are not all Anglicans, and not all Anglicans are card-carrying lefties.

    I would never have abolished the hereditary Lords. It was a Labour government that did that. Because the Labour government did one thing wrong does not permit me to throw up my hands and say, “They may as well do another!” Rather, the hereditary Lords should be restored.

    When I think of the political right, I am not thinking of the neo-con Tories, who tend to disdain anything that does not have an obvious fiscal advantage. I am thinking of old Tories, of whom, thank goodness, there are still a few around.

    I appreciate your point about the Lords doing a better job in modifying faulty legislation. Why would you want that to stop by abolishing them? Perhaps, rather than abolishing them, we should be giving them real power, such as exists in the Senate here in the Dominion of Canada.

    As a descendent of Recusants, I certainly take your point about the injustice of the Reformation. But that was five centuries ago. And didn’t you point out that there are no more hereditary Lords? In any case, I think Our Saviour’s command to forgive those long-dead souls, perhaps to pray for them, should be taken seriously, rather than dissolving an institution that no longer has anything to do with them.

    Yes, the Lords most likely will go: but I for one will mourn their passing. Our technocratic society will have discarded something it considers archaic, useless and rather inconvenient (like the Mass in the Extraordinary Form). And we all take one step closer to the Gulag.

  21. After the way the present government has treated issues of interest to Catholics, why should the Holy Father permit the Cardinal to be complicit in a move perhaps designed to assuage Catholic irritation and pick up votes for the present dominant party in the next elections?

  22. Soler says:

    Suburbanbanshee asks about “prince-bishops”.

    There is one diocese (I’ve forgotten the name) the bishop of which automatically becomes co-prince of Andorra. The othe co-prince is the President of France. All laws must be, as far as I know, approved by one of the co-princes.

  23. Ooh, that’s interesting, Soler. I did not know that.

    It sounds like having a Board of Regents for a country….

  24. Roland de Chanson says:

    “Deimater”,

    I meant that co-opting the name of the Theotokos as one’s “handle” on a blog seemed to me blasphemous. I apologise if that was not your intent.

    If you name your son “Jesus” or your daughter “Mary”, I could only agree that you do so to honour Mary and Jesus. If your kids are named “Son of God” and “Mother of God”, you should not be surprised to find you had given offense. Nihil refert contumeliam Latine latere.

    Fr. Z: I also don’t favor when people assume historical names to post.

    Qui? Moi? Pas du tout. My name really is Roland. The “de Chanson” just a play on the epic lay of Charlemagne’s excursion against the Mohammedans. It’s not because I have the gift of song. I was swiftly ostracised from the grammar school choir by Sister Mary Warbler because she was envious of my talent for singing in multiple keys simultaneously. :-)

  25. Deimater says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf,

    It may well be that the Labour government sees it that way. But Cardinal Murphy O’Connor is no fool, whatever one may think of his governance as Metropolitan of the Province of Westminster. The Cardinal could bring a prophetic voice to policy in the United Kingdom, and this from within. I think it behooves the Church in that realm finally to shed its ethos of exclusion (but not its identity), foisted upon it originally by the established church but to which, to a certain extent, the Catholic Church has itself contributed.