Last week at a private gathering in the Crypt, families of those who died at Hillsborough and the press, Bishop James Jones presented the findings of the enquiry into the effects that the families had experienced over the years from the intransigence of many in authority in their fight to defend the innocence and good name of those who died in this terrible tragedy. The report is entitled ‘The patronising disposition of unaccountable power’, and it brings home the terrible toll that abuse of authority had on the families and individuals who were interviewed in the report. Many of the personal testimonies are very moving and I was particularly touched by the final one that Bishop James quoted in his preface to the report – ‘I only hope that my father can rest in peace knowing that I did everything that I possibly could to be his voice and make sure his truth was heard’. Hopefully the findings and proposals from this will serve as a catalyst in providing a framework for those in public office and senior positions in the way people who are caught up in tragedies of this kind are dealt with and be a stark reminder of the duty of care that they have in the way people affected are treated in the aftermath.
The responsorial psalm this week sets the mood of humble contemplation for this time of November as we commemorate the dead both in prayers for the Holy Souls and in Remembrance of those fallen in war and also in our prayer for the coming of Christ’s Kingdom. ‘O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor haughty my eyes. I have not gone after things too great, nor marvels beyond me. Truly I have set my soul in silence and in peace.’ The Masses next weekend will begin with a moments silence for Remembrance Sunday and Choral Evening Prayer at 3.00pm will be replaced by the Merchant Navy Remembrance Service.
This coming week our choirs will be travelling down to Westminster Cathedral to sing in the first of two concerts including a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in conjunction with Westminster Cathedral Choir. The second concert will take place the following week on Wednesday 15th November at our Cathedral. This will be the first time that our two great Catholic Cathedral choirs have sung together at our Cathedral – one not to miss!
Recently the Knowledge Quarter which incorporates all the University district and the research, science and technology institutions launched a Masterplan for this area. The Cathedral is located pretty much in the central heart of this whole area and I have been watching recent developments with interest – excited by some of the aspirations and future plans for the area as well as being slightly cautious about others. The Paddington Village scheme, located alongside Grove Street and Low Hill is now already starting to progress with phase one of the development underway. There is also a suggestion of a new station with a link rail line from Central – as to whether this will amount to more than an aspiration will depend a great deal upon the interest and support for developing this village and wider availability of funding. The Masterplan includes the proposal of ‘Lime Square’ located in front of the Adelphi as a public Square to mark the gateway between the city centre and the knowledge quarter. Other parts of the plan relate to better areas of public realm between buildings, better means of linking and unifying the districts and greener and more sustainable transport routes within the area. It is the issues relating to accessibility, transport and availability of parking facilities within the area that could have a major impact upon the Cathedral and also the whole of the Hope Street District. It will be important that our various needs will be considered in decisions for the future.