Quote of the Day (Jerome Murphy-O’Connor)

“One expects the central shrine of Christendom to stand out in majestic isolation, but anonymous buildings cling to it like barnacles. One looks for numinous light, but it is dark and cramped. One hopes for peace, but the ear is assailed by a cacophony of warring chants. One desires holiness, only to encounter a jealous possessiveness: the six groups of occupants – Latin Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Syrians, Copts, Ethiopians – watch one another suspiciously for any infringement of rights. The frailty of humanity is nowhere more apparent than here; it epitomizes the human condition. The empty who come to be filled will leave desolate; those who permit the church to question them may begin to understand why hundreds of thousands thought it worthwhile to risk death or slavery in order pray here.”

— Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700 (Oxford University Press, 2008) p.49.

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  • Jona Lendering

    One of my favorite quotes too. Strangely, I found the basilica more inspiring than I had expected.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583664425 Anonymous

    James, I had the privilege of meeting Fr. Murphy O’Connor when I have visited Ecole Biblique in the summer of 2000. I was very impressed by the intellectual and spiritual depth of this man and also by his nuanced understanding of the context.

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