Rt. Hon. Tom Clarke CBE has been awarded a papal knighthood by Pope Francis. Bishop Joseph Toal of the Diocese of Motherwell made the announcement on 29th of June, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul and the 34th Anniversary of his first taking his seat in Parliament.
Commenting on the award, Bishop Toal said:
I am delighted to announce that Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has conferred the honour of the Knight of St. Gregory the Great on former Member of Parliament, Tom Clarke. Tom served as a Member of Parliament from 1982 until 2015. Throughout all of that time Tom Clarke sought inspiration from his devout Catholic faith in determining how he should vote on a wide variety of parliamentary issues especially his work on disability rights, overseas development and the pro life cause.
He is a most worthy recipient of this Papal honour and a wonderful example of how we can contribute to the building of God’s kingdom on earth when we allow the Holy Spirit to inspire and motivate us to use the gifts and talents God has given us. I have no doubt that Tom’s former parliamentary colleagues from diverse political parties, ideologies and creeds would agree that Tom is a worthy recipient of this honour. I congratulate him on behalf of the Diocese of Motherwell.
Tom Clarke said:
“I am truly humbled and privileged to receive this award. Coming from Pope Francis, a man of great humanity and a staunch advocate of human rights, adds to my delight. I regard this as recognition of people not just of my own faith but of the many people of all traditions I have had the honour to serve.”
Bishop Toal will be the principal celebrant at a Special Mass in St. Augustine’s Coatbridge on Thursday 1st September and will bestow the award on behalf of Pope Francis. Mr. Clarke is expected to have an audience with the Holy Father at the Vatican on a date to be arranged.