The bishops of England and Wales are in Rome for a retreat, and met with Francis at today’s general audience.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, retired archbishop of Westminster, gave a brief address on behalf of the bishops. The Holy Father greeted the bishops one by one.
Prior to the audience, the bishops celebrated Mass this morning at the tomb of Saint Peter inside the Basilica for the repose of the soul of Margaret Thatcher, just hours before the funeral of the former British Prime Minister was celebrated in London’s St Paul’s Cathedral.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster spoke with Vatican Radio: “We were privileged to meet Pope Francis this morning and in a few short remarks, Cardinal Cormac said to him that these weeks of his pontificate have given a fresh joy and hope to the Church. … There’s a fresh Spring about the Church at the moment and I think that’s from the Pope’s eloquence in gesture and his words when he preaches and at his audiences…
“I think what is most remarkable in the UK is that everybody seems to have been touched by his eloquence, by his gentleness and by the humility of Pope Francis.”