Bishop James has accepted an Honorary Fellowship saying he honours the families of the 96.
Bishop James has accepted an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University. His acceptance speech is below
15 years ago when I became Bishop of Liverpool I was enthroned in this Cathedral. It sounds a grand word, although there was a misprint somewhere which called it an “enthornment”! Although there have been challenges along the way, as I prepare to stand down, the experience has been one of great blessing, not least in receiving this Honorary Fellowship today.
This extraordinary building was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott who received the commission at the age of 22 – the age of many of our young Graduands. To receive a degree in this place therefore underlines how age is no limit to what can be achieved. No boundary to one’s dreams.
This Cathedral holds within this Great Space many special memories. It was here that the families of the 96 who died at Hillsborough were the first to hear and receive the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel that I chaired.
It was here that truth emerged from over 400,000 pages of documents. It was here that the truth called out to justice. It was here that the truth revealed its liberating power for families and survivors and indeed for the City itself.
I am conscious that many of the 96 were young people like today’s graduands, yet they were denied all the promise and privilege that come to every student graduating from this University.
So I receive this Fellowship honouring my work as Bishop of Liverpool and as Chair of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, and in accepting it I in turn honour the families for their dignified pursuit of the truth and the 96 whose memory inspires us all to cherish life itself.