Cardinal Cormac preaches at 'Red Mass'

 Several hundred Catholic members of the legal profession from across England and Wales assembled together earlier today at Westminster Cathedral for the 'Red Mass' which marks the opening of the Michaelmas Law Term. Its celebration can be traced back almost to the reign of Henry the Second. The procession into Westminster Cathedral at the beginning of the celebration is itself a statement of the origins of the Red Mass. Besides the Episcopal robes, the robes of the Judges and Counsel show the vestigial hood and folds of the clerical dress from which they are descended with legal and priestly clothing having their common origins at a time when the Lord Chancellor was a Bishop and most of the Judges were Clerics. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor was main celebrant and homilist with the main theme of his words centring around how the lives of the variety of judges, barristers and lawyers present might "transcend the law". The Cardinal began his sermon talking "about the Bible's approach to justice to see how that might speak to you in your own personal lives" saying that "it would be ironic if you, while administering our human justice, lived lives that flew in the face of God's own idea of justice". "The justice that God asks of his people" he said, "doesn't mean giving to each his or her due". He expanded on the theme of Biblical justice stating that God's justice "was not human justice at all" but was "giving to others what they had been given by God; to act towards one another as God had acted towards them". "The rules of law are effective, and we are all equal before them," he continued, "but they cannot substitute for that deeper wisdom and calling which is love." In his quest to "lift hearts and to raise sights" the Cardinal went on to say that "for you, the professional quest for justice should be a springboard to a fuller life. Your love of law should lead you to the law of love." A similar special service also took place this morning at Westminster Abbey to mark the opening of the legal courts. source: Archbishops House

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