Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s Pause for Thought

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Here’s Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s ‘Pause for Thought’ reflection from today – 20 september 2016. It was broadcast just after 9:20am on BBC Radio 2’s The Chris Evans Show.

Cardinal Cormac’s reflection invites us to “find an occasion to sing either alone or with others. It will lift your heart.”

Full text

Years ago I went with a group of English-speaking bishops to a reception given by the Polish bishops, hosted by Cardinal Wojtyla, soon to become Pope John Paul II. There was quite a large group there and after about half an hour, suddenly I heard a fine baritone voice beginning to sing, soon to be supported by all the Polish bishops.

It was Cardinal Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, who loved to sing a song. I said to Cardinal Heenan, who was then Archbishop of Westminster, that the English-speaking bishops ought to sing a song but it was difficult to find an appropriate song when there were American, English, Australian and Indian bishops present. Eventually, I suggested the song, The Rose of Tralee. So we sang it, not very well, and I can still see Cardinal Wojtyla’s slight look of boredom at our bad singing and before long he sang another lovely Polish song.

I am all for sing-songs. It brings people together and sometimes it happens that after a while at any gathering people have enough of talk and chat and all they want to do is to find something that binds them together and what better than a song. Now I am not thinking of the great occasion of the Last Night of the Proms when everybody sings Jerusalem but rather a song among friends.

I was very moved recently when I went to the Commemoration of the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme at Thiepval in France. It was a most moving occasion when we remembered all those countless thousands of soldiers who died in that terrible battle. And do you know what we sang? We sang a song probably none of you know, it is called, Keep the Home Fires Burning, While your hearts are yearning. Though your lads are far away They dream of home. There’s a silver lining, Through the dark cloud shining. Turn the dark cloud inside out ‘til the boys come home.

Anyway, find an occasion to sing either alone or with others. It will lift your heart.