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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 20:06 GMT 21:06 UK
Cardinal recalls 'momentous days'
Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor
Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor helped elect the new pope
The Archbishop of Westminster has told worshippers of the "momentous" days that followed the Pope's death, during a thanksgiving service in London.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor was giving his first mass at Westminster Cathedral since taking part in the election process for the new pontiff.

He told the congregation that the sense of loss had been mitigated by the display of unity from people worldwide.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected as the new pope in Rome on Tuesday.

Cardinal O'Connor was one of 115 members of the college of cardinals who elected Pope Benedict XVI.

Reconciliation and peace

Recalling the time spent in the Sistine Chapel he said: "There was a sense of one's own grave responsibility but also a sense that the whole of the church was praying for us and holding us in their minds and hearts."

He said when the announcement was made that a decision had been reached the cardinals broke into "spontaneous and joyous applause".

The Cardinal said Pope Benedict XVI had indicated that he would follow in the footsteps of the last Pope Benedict - a man of reconciliation and peace.

The election of Joseph Ratzinger, chosen because of his conservative views, has been met with a mixed response.

He is opposed to birth control, homosexuality and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids, and supports the celibacy of the priesthood.


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