Birmingham, 19 September, 2022 / 12:00 pm (ACI Africa).
As millions across the United Kingdom and the whole world today witness the final farewell for Queen Elizabeth II, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales have released statements, made comments, and issued pastoral letters about the death of Her Majesty.
The Catholic archbishop of Westminster and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales paid a strong personal tribute to the queen.
“Our prayer is that she is now received into the merciful presence of God, there to be reunited with her beloved Prince Philip. This is the promise of our faith, and our deep consolation,” Cardinal Vincent Nichols said in a statement published by the Catholic Church of England and Wales upon the news from Buckingham Palace that the queen had died peacefully at Balmoral Castle Sept. 8.
“Even in my sorrow, shared with so many around the world, I am filled with an immense sense of gratitude for the gift to the world that has been the life of Queen Elizabeth II,” he said.
The cardinal said on Sept. 8 that the queen’s “Christian faith marked every day of her life and activity.”
“In her millennium Christmas message, she said, ‘To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.’
“This faith, so often and so eloquently proclaimed in her public messages, has been an inspiration to me, and I am sure to many. The wisdom, stability, and service which she consistently embodied, often in circumstances of extreme difficulty, are a shining legacy and testament to her faith,” Nichols said.
In the homily for the Requiem Mass celebrated Sunday, Sept. 11, at Westminster Cathedral, the loss was brought into a Christian light: “Yes, we mourn the death of our Sovereign. Our loss is profound and our sorrow immense. But we also know that her life continues; it is changed, not ended,” the sermon said.
“For as this earthly dwelling slowly turns to dust, we pray that she will gain an everlasting dwelling in heaven, where nothing of her great goodness is lost but rather brought to its fulfillment. In the words of St. Paul, those who are baptized in Christ ‘went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we, too, might live a new life.’
Together with many Catholics around the U.K. and the Commonwealth, the faithful in Westminster on Sept. 11 also prayed for the queen’s son, King Charles III, as he took on the burdens of the royal office. The prayer at the end of the homily stated:
O God, to whom every human power is subject,
Grant to your servant His Majesty King Charles
wisdom in the exercise of his high office,
so that, always revering you and striving to please you,
he may constantly secure and preserve
for the people entrusted to his care
the freedom that comes from unity and peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.