Bishop James O’Brien retires

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The resignation of Bishop James O’Brien, an auxiliary bishop of Westminster, on grounds of age has been accepted by the Holy See.

In church law, all Catholic bishops must offer to resign at the age of 75. The retirement of Bishop O’Brien, who will be 75 in August, was made in Rome today.

The softly-spoken, courteous bishop has long been nicknamed “Gentleman Jim”.

Commenting on his retirement, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said:

“Bishop Jim has been a marvellous bishop in Westminster Diocese for more than 28 years. His pastoral care, his sensitivity and his friendliness have been deeply appreciated by the people of the Diocese, and especially the priests and the people of Hertfordshire, as well as by his many ecumenical friends.

“Bishop Jim has always been on the side of the poor as an advocate for justice, both as the chair of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and later as head of the Diocese’s department for ecumenism, interfaith and justice & peace work.I always greatly valued his counsel and friendship, and will continue to be grateful for both in the years ahead.”

A Mass concelebrated by the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, and the other auxiliary bishops of Westminster, will be held at 2.30 pm on 10 September at All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney.

The Mass will give thanks for Bishop Jim’s devoted and faithful ministry to the Diocese over so many years.