WASHINGTON (June 26, 1997) -- Bishop Anthony M. Pilla of Cleveland, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/U.S. Catholic Conference, issued the following statement today on the death of Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy of Seattle:
It is with great sadness and a sense of personal loss that I heard of the death of Archbishop Thomas Murphy of Seattle. Until recently, we served as fellow officers of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/U.S. Catholic Conference. He was a superb Treasurer who brought his good humor as well as his acute intelligence to bear on his responsibilities. He had the respect of all us Bishops.
Among the services he rendered to the Conference was his chairmanship of the committee which drew up the pastoral letter on stewardship which has become such an important document in the life of the Church in our country. He continued his commitment to this matter by going on to chair the Conference's Committee on Stewardship. He was also an outstanding chairman of the Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry. A most devoted priest himself, he had a great concern for the welfare of all priests.
I wish to extend my condolences to Archbishop Murphy's family, to the clergy, religious, lay faithful and all the people of Seattle who knew Archbishop Murphy as a selfless and loving servant of God and of his neighbor. I also extend my sympathy to the people of Great Falls-Billings where the Archbishop first served as a diocesan Bishop and to the people of Chicago among whom his faith was nourished. There he heard the call to the priesthood and served devotedly for twenty years.
Archbishop Murphy bore his recent sufferings with the faith in God and the commitment to the service of the Church that characterized his entire life. It is with great confidence that the words of the Book of Wisdom can be applied to him: Chastised a little, he shall be greatly blessed, for God tried him and found him worthy of himself (cf. Wisdom 3.5)