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Last Updated: Monday, 9 July 2007, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Pope asks archbishop to stay on
Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor
Cardinal Murphy O'Connor has his 75th birthday in August
The Pope has asked the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales to stay in post beyond his 75th birthday.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, offered his resignation ahead of his 75 birthday in accordance with canon law.

Pope Benedict XVI has said the cardinal should remain in position.

Cardinal O'Connor, who has accepted the request, is likely to remain as archbishop for between a year and 18 months beyond his birthday in August.

In a letter to priests and auxiliary bishops in the Diocese of Westminster, the cardinal said: "In the response I have received, the Holy Father has invited me instead to continue in my present pastoral ministry donec aliter provideatur. That is, until he chooses otherwise.

"I am very content to accept the Holy Father's request."

Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, who became the 10th Archbishop of Westminster in 2000, will celebrate his 75th birthday on 24 August.


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