BISHOP Derek Worlock will be installed as the Archbishop of Liverpool in March as the successor to Archbishop Beck, who is retiring because of ill health.
As Bishop Worlock has said, this will present a great challenge and an opportunity to create in Liverpool the postVatican H Council type of diocese that he has patiently constructed in Portsmouth during the last 10 years.
If the people of Liverpool had wanted a Northerner to succeed Archbishop Beck, it wasn't from precedent. The last twu Archbishops were Southerners and Bishop Worlock himself has few connections north of the Trent.
Born in London in 1920, Derek Worlock's parents were both converts. His father, Captain Harford Worlock, became Conservative agent for Winchester in 1929 and his mother was an active member of the Women's Voluntary Service and a suffragette activist.
Educated at St Edmund's College, Ware, Derek Worlock was ordained in 1944 at Westminster Cathedral and the next year he became Private Secretary to Cardinal Griffin at Westminster.
He served three Cardinals at Westminster in this capacity and in 1963 attended the first four sessions of the Vatican Council as an adviser on the role of lay people in the Church.
When he was appointed by Cardinal Heenan as parish priest at St Mary and Michael in the East End of London, Derek Worlock set up a team of priests which was a forerunner of the group ministry. He remained at St Mary's until he was appointed as Bishop of Portsmouth in 1965.
His enormous administrative abilities were used to the full in Portsmouth in implementing the teachings of the Second Vatican Council in a local situation. During his time as bishop, 36 churches and many schools were built, the number of parishes increased from 951 to 119, he set up a diocesan pastoral council and encouraged the growth of parish councils, six COMmissions were set up, and in 1968 a diocesan pastoral centre was established at Park Place, Wickham, now a flourishing meeting point for more than 10,000 people a year.
Bishop Worlock has also become renowned for his work at u national level. He has been episcopal secretary to the Bishop's Conference since it began in 1967 and in this capacity has frequently been a spokesman on Catholic affairs. He is also the bishop's link with the National Conference of Priests.
Bishop Worloek has always recognised the importance of the
laity in the Church, and his close friendship with Patrick Keegan has involved him in the Young Christian Workers and later with Family and Social Action. He is Consultor to the Vatican Laity Council, which was established by Pope Paul in 1967.
At the Synod of Bishops, which met in Rome during 1974, Bishop Worlock was one of the two representatives from the Bishops' Conference and he is well known and respected in Rome, where his former Secretary, Mgr Cormac MurphyO'Connor, is the Rector of the English College.
He has also shown great concern for the Third World by arranging for Portsmouth Diocese to "adopt" the diocese of Bamenda in the Cameroun. Two of his secular priests are working as missionaries there and he visited the Cameroun in 1975. Every Wednesday at Bishop's House, no matter who is visiting a frugal lunch is served and the cost of the normal lunch is sent to CnAe of Bishop
Worlock's great prides has been the Cathedral
in Portsmouth, which he has had redesigned to suit the new liturgy. The sanctuary from altar cloths to lectern all symbolise different aspects of the significance of the Church in the modern world.
Although many people know Bishop Worlock as a patient and careful administrator and committee man, his natural quiet and shy manner hides a gentle and ironic sense of humour. Last year at the National Conference of Priests meeting he is reported to have played a practical joke on a dissentient priest and poured a
in. y th f Liverpool diocese will be a tough one of challengebe er over ho
in. y th f Liverpool diocese will be a tough one of challengebe er over ho because the diocese is known to have severe social and financial problems. It is the largest diocese and this in itself makes it difficult to administer. But the situation is exacerbated by the wide diversity of social groups, from the Irish working class community to the traditional Lancashire Catholics.
Inner city Liverpool is in chaos and this affects many Catholics in their daily lives as well as in their pastoral care and education. The new towns, especially Kirby and Skelmersdale, are renowned for their social malaise, while much of the diocese is made up of dying urban industrial centres and conservative rural communities.
Although Archbishop Beck fought hard and efficiently, ill health impaired his work. Bishop Worlock will inherit the headaches of the diocesan schools and colleges, but will be aided by the enthusiasm and loyalty of his helpers.