Basil Hume

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Basil Hume

Archbishop of Westminster
Statue of Basil Hume in Newcastle upon Tyne
Appointed9 February 1976
Installed25 March 1976
Term ended17 June 1999
PredecessorJohn Carmel Heenan
SuccessorCormac Murphy-O'Connor
Other postsCardinal-Priest of San Silvestro in Capite (1976 - 1999)
Ordination23 July 1950
Consecration26 March 1976
by Bruno Heim
Created cardinal24 May 1976
Personal details
Birth nameGeorge Basil Hume
Born(1923-03-02)2 March 1923
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Died17 June 1999(1999-06-17) (aged 76)
London, England
BuriedWestminster Cathedral
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
ParentsSir William Errington Hume and Maria Elizabeth Hume (née Tisserye)
Previous postAbbot of Saint Lawrence's Abbey, Ampleforth (1963 - 1976)
Coat of armsBasil Hume's coat of arms

George Basil Cardinal Hume OSB, OM, MA, STL (2 March 1923 – 17 June 1999) was a British prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Westminster from 1976 and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales from 1979 until his death. Hume was elevated to the cardinalate in 1976.

Early life and ministry[change | change source]

George Haliburton Hume was born in Newcastle upon Tyne to Sir William Errington Hume and Marie Elizabeth Tisseyre. His father was a Protestant heart doctor from Scotland, and his mother the French Catholic daughter of an army officer. He had three sisters and one brother.

Hume joined the Benedictine monastery at Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire at the age of 18. He took the name Basil when he made his final promise to be a monk 1945. He became a priest on July 23, 1950.

Bishop[change | change source]

On 9 February 1976, Pope Paul VI made Hume the Archbishop of Westminster, the highest ranking Catholic priest in England and Wales. He was the first monk to be archbishop since 1850 when Roman Catholic bishops returned to England.

Hume was told he was being appointed at dinner[1]

I must confess I did not enjoy the rest of the meal

Cardinal Hume's time in office saw Catholicism become more accepted in Britain than it had been for 400 years. 1995 saw the first visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Westminster Cathedral. He also read from the Bible at the installation ceremony of Archbishop Robert Runcie as of Canterbury in 1980. It was also during his term in Westminster that Pope John Paul II made first ever visit of a pope to England.

In 1998, Hume asked John Paul II for permission to retire, so that he could go back to his monastery at Ampleforth and spend some time fly fishing and watching Newcastle United Football Club. The request was refused.

He was diagnosed with inoperable abdominal cancer in April 1999. On 2 June of that same year, Queen Elizabeth awarded him the Order of Merit. He died just over two weeks later in London, at age 76. His funeral was broadcast live on British national television and he was buried in Westminster Cathedral. John Paul II said he was a "shepherd of great spiritual and moral character".[2]

Legacy[change | change source]

  • A statue of Cardinal Hume was erected in his home town of Newcastle and unveiled by the Queen in 2002.
  • The Cardinal Hume Centre based in Westminster works to improve the lives of homeless young people, families, and other vulnerable and socially excluded members of society.
  • The Cardinal Hume Rose is named after him.
  • The Cardinal Hume Catholic School [3] has been recently opened in Wrekenton, part of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]