Derek Worlock

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Derek Worlock

Archbishop of Liverpool
Detail from the statue of Derek Worlock, the former Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool 2.jpg
Derek Worlock, memorial portrait in Liverpool
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
ArchdioceseArchdiocese of Liverpool
ProvinceProvince of Liverpool
Appointed7 February 1976
Term ended6 February 1996
PredecessorGeorge Andrew Beck AA
SuccessorPatrick Altham Kelly
Ordination3 June 1944
Consecration21 December 1965
by John Carmel Heenan
Personal details
Birth nameDerek John Harford Worlock
Born4 February 1920
Died6 February 1996
BuriedMetropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
ParentsCaptain Harford Worlock and Dora Worlock (née Hoblyn).
Previous postBishop of Portsmouth
MottoCaritas Christi eluceat [1]

Derek John Harford Worlock, CH (4 February 1920 – 6 February 1996) was an English prelate of the Roman Catholic Church; his highest posting was as Archbishop of Liverpool.[2]


Worlock was born in London on 4 February 1920,[2] the son of Captain Harford Worlock, a journalist, and his wife, Dora (née Hoblyn), a suffragette (or as she called herself, a "suffragist").[3][4] His father, a journalist turned Conservative political agent, attended Keble College, Oxford, and planned to become a priest in the Church of England; many of his forebears had been Anglican clergy. However, Harford and Dora Worlock converted to Roman Catholicism and raised their son in that faith.[5]

Derek Worlock was a student at St Edmund's College from 1934 to 1944. By this time the family home was in Winchester. As a small boy he was rebuked for "having an answer to everything", a trait that remained. He was ordained to the priesthood at Westminster Cathedral on 3 June 1944,[2] seminarians being exempt from military service so they could be rushed through to serve as chaplains. In theory he belonged to the Diocese of Portsmouth, but its bishop, William Timothy Cotter, expected his future priests to have an Irish background. Not long afterwards, he was appointed private secretary to Cardinal Griffin, and assisted successive cardinal-archbishops of Westminster for almost two decades. He attended every session of the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1965.[2]

Worlock was appointed Bishop of Portsmouth on 18 October 1965 and consecrated at the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist, Portsmouth on 21 December 1965.[2] While in Portsmouth he set about renewing parishes, as well as undertaking the work of developing ecumenical relationships and the building of over thirty new churches in his diocese.[2]

In 1976, he was appointed Archbishop of Liverpool.[2] He was one of the panelists for the first edition of the BBC programme Question Time in 1979. The following year, he convoked at Liverpool the National Pastoral Congress which gave rise to the report The Easter People. Important events in his cathedral included the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1982 and the 1990 launch of the Council of Churches of Britain and Ireland. Worlock contributed to the work of reconciliation after the Toxteth riots in 1981 and in the aftermath of the football stadium tragedies at Heysel in 1985 and Hillsborough in 1989.[2]

Worlock was committed to evangelisation and collaborated with his fellow Christian leaders, as demonstrated by the books Better Together and With Hope in our Hearts which he and his Anglican counterpart in Liverpool, Bishop David Sheppard, jointly produced. Sheppard's daughter, Jenny, converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism. In July 1992, Worlock underwent major surgery for lung cancer but survived long enough to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood two years later.[6]


In January 1994, along with David Sheppard, he was awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool. He was invested as a Companion of Honour[clarification needed] in the 1996 New Year Honours, but died of cancer two days after his 76th birthday, just a week before he was due to receive the honour.[7]

On Sunday, 11 May 2008, during the Christian Walk of Witness, the Sheppard-Worlock Statue in the form of two bronze doors was unveiled to honour both Worlock and David Sheppard. The memorial was designed by the sculptor Stephen Broadbent and was funded by public donations. The memorial is situated halfway down Liverpool's Hope Street, which joins both the Roman Catholic and Anglican cathedrals.[8]


  1. ^ "Archdiocese of Liverpool". Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Archbishop Derek John Worlock". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  3. ^ "The Most Reverend Derek Worlock, C.H." (PDF). Archdiocese of Liverpool. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Worlock, Derek J. H." FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  5. ^ Hebblethwaite, Peter (9 February 1996). "Obituary: The Most Rev Derek Worlock". The Independent. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  6. ^ "Anniversary Mass for Archbishop Derek Worlock". Archdiocese of Liverpool. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  7. ^ "No. 54255". The London Gazette (Supplement). published 29 December 1995. p. 5. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ Coslett, Paul. "Statue for two Bishops". BBC. Retrieved 15 June 2011.


  • Kay, David J. S. (2003). The People of St Edmund's College (The Edmundian Association). ISBN 0-9546125-0-7

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Henry King
Bishop of Portsmouth
Succeeded by
Anthony Joseph Emery
Preceded by
George Andrew Beck
Archbishop of Liverpool
Succeeded by
Patrick Altham Kelly