Cardinal´s Visit to Queen of England Hailed

Vatican Radio Says Old Prejudices «Anachronistic»

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LONDON, JAN. 14, 2002 ( Cardinal Murphy-O´Connor´s historic
visit to Queen Elizabeth II over the weekend is a sign that anti-Catholic
prejudices in England are «anachronistic,» Vatican Radio said today.

The archbishop of Westminster, primate of the Catholic Church of England
and Wales, delivered a homily in the sovereign´s country residence during
the Anglican morning service on Sunday.

There were some 200 Catholics and Protestants present, in addition to the
queen and her family. It was the first time since the Reformation that a
Catholic bishop was invited by an English monarch to deliver a sermon.

On the eve of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins next
Friday, Cardinal Murphy-O´Connor said that the royal invitation was a sign
of progress on the way toward unity between the two Christian communities.

The cardinal commented on the passage in St. John´s Gospel that refers to
Christ´s first miracle, the transformation of water into wine, at the
Wedding of Cana, and he emphasized the meaning of Mary´s invitation to the
servants to do whatever Christ told them.

«Important transformations in the relation between the Catholic and
Anglican Churches and, more generally in society, have made this historic
visit possible,» Vatican Radio acknowledged.

Elizabeth II received John Paul II at Buckingham Palace in 1982.

According to Vatican Radio, «the last decades have revealed the growth of
the role of the Catholic minority in British life. Leaders of the
Conservative and Liberal-Democratic parties are Catholics, as is Tony
Blair´s wife.»

«Today the old prejudice that considered Catholics as subjects of a foreign
sovereign, the Pope, is seen as anachronistic,» Vatican Radio said.

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