Derek Worlock

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Derek Worlock

Archbishop of Liverpool
Memorial portrait in Liverpool
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
ProvinceProvince of Liverpool
Appointed7 February 1976
Term ended8 February 1996
PredecessorGeorge Andrew Beck AA
SuccessorPatrick Altham Kelly
Ordination3 June 1944
Consecration21 December 1965
by John Carmel Heenan
Personal details
Derek John Harford Worlock

(1920-02-04)4 February 1920
London, England
Died8 February 1996(1996-02-08) (aged 76)
Liverpool, England
BuriedMetropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
ParentsHarford and Dora Worlock
Previous post(s)Bishop of Portsmouth
MottoCaritas Christi eluceat[1]

Derek John Harford Worlock CH (4 February 1920 – 8 February 1996) was an English prelate of the Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop of Liverpool.[2]


The coat of arms of Archbishop Derek Worlock

Worlock was born in St John's Wood, London, on 4 February 1920, the son of Captain Harford Worlock 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]

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 at Old Hall Green on 3 June 1944 as a priest of the Diocese of Westminster,[6] seminarians being exempt from military service so they could be rushed through to serve as chaplains.

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.[6]

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.[6] While in Portsmouth he set about renewing parishes, as well as undertaking the work of developing ecumenical relationships and the building of over 30 new churches in his diocese.

In 1976, he was appointed Archbishop of Liverpool.[7] He was one of the panelists for the first edition of the BBC programme Question Time in 1979. The following year, he convened 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.[7]

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. He survived long enough to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood two years later, before succumbing to the disease in 1996.[8]


In January 1994, along with David Sheppard, he was awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool. He was appointed as a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in the 1996 New Year Honours, but died of cancer four days after his 76th birthday and one day after the 20th anniversary of his appointment as archbishop, just a week before he was due to be invested.

On 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.[9]


  1. ^ "Archdiocese of Liverpool". Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  2. ^ Hebblethwaite, Peter (9 February 1996). "OBITUARY: The Most Rev Derek Worlock". The Independent. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  3. ^ "The Most Reverend Derek Worlock, C.H." (PDF). Archdiocese of Liverpool. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 July 2011. 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. ^ a b c Larsen, Chris. Catholic Bishops of Great Britain, Sacristy Press, 2016, p. 153ISBN 9781910519257
  7. ^ a b "Archbishop Derek John Worlock". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  8. ^ "Anniversary Mass for Archbishop Derek Worlock". Archdiocese of Liverpool. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  9. ^ 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 Bishop of Portsmouth
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of Liverpool
Succeeded by