The first Benedictine to hold this office, Hume, though half-French and half-Scottish, came Basil hume homosexuality as essentially English and upper-middle class. This, added to an attractive spirituality, self-deprecating wit and imposing appearance, gave him advantages that had not been granted to his predecessor Cardinal Heenan, the product of an Irish working-class background. She went to Vespers at his cathedral, and chose him to become one of the 24 members of the Order of Merit; he made a great effort to receive the honour from her at Buckingham Palace as his fatal illness grew worse.
By the end of Hume's 23 years in office, English Catholics had moved closer to the centre of the national stage than seemed possible when he was appointed in His words and tone at a requiem Mass for Diana, Princess of Wales and a week later for Mother Teresa were noted far beyond the thousands who crowded Westminster Cathedral on those occasions. For millions who saw him on television or heard him on the wireless he conveyed an unfeigned seriousness about spiritual and moral matters that never lost sight of human frailties.
There was broad agreement, too, that it was thanks to the Cardinal Basil hume homosexuality the Catholic Church in England did not split into opposing camps of conservative and liberals.
he did build, perhaps, on the work of Heenan. But Hume had also developed remarkable diplomatic skills during his period as Abbot of Ampleforth, when, in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, he succeeded in reconciling warring factions of ecclesiastically Left- and Right-wing monks. As Archbishop of Westminster, he appeared to realise that the currency of clerical interventions in public life is swiftly devalued if Basil hume homosexuality too often.
Although on most subjects his sympathies lay to the Left, he made sure that his protests on behalf of the Guildford Four, and the traditional family, and, above all, against abortion, occupied a moral high ground far above the party-political crossfire Basil hume homosexuality which some clergy are drawn. But the greatest test of Hume's diplomacy involved his relations with the Holy See; and it was one he passed with flying colours. He helped persuade the Pope to come to Britain inand to ensure that the visit was a public relations triumph for all Basil hume homosexuality, Catholic and Anglican.
He was unswervingly loyal to Pope John Paul in public, yet managed to appear significantly less hard-line than the Pope on delicate sexual and moral issues. Faced with harsh statements from the Pope or from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican guardian of orthodox doctrine, not once did Hume contradict the uncomfortable teachings they contained.
Instead, he subtly applied a more acceptable gloss to them which rarely failed to satisfy liberal commentators. The classic example was Rome's insistence, reiterated during the s and s, that homosexual acts were "objectively wrong".
Quite right, said Hume in ; but this did not mean that homosexuals should feel guilty about their orientation. On the contrary, they were "precious in the eyes of God". This did not stop him, though, from banning an entry in the Catholic Directory for Quest, an association for homosexual Catholics which had refused to declare its acceptance of the Roman teaching. Nor was Hume unaware of the strong adherence among a minority to the old Latin Mass.
Thanks Basil hume homosexuality an arrangement put in place by Cardinal Heenan, the so-called Tridentine Mass could legally be celebrated in England; Hume, while not wishing to Basil hume homosexuality any liturgical split within his territory, gave permission for it to be said in three London churches each Sunday. The point of Hume's tightrope balancing acts was twofold: That the act succeeded so well irritated some conservative Catholics, who felt that Hume occasionally managed to charm his way out of quite serious errors of judgment - for example, when he failed to act against school textbooks of dubious orthodoxy.
There was also unhappiness in some quarters at the calibre of some of the bishops and diocesan staff who served under Hume. It seemed to some almost as if the Cardinal - a strikingly tall, white-haired figure with what one writer described as "long Plantagenet features" - preferred to further the careers of humourless and unprepossessing liberals. Certainly, with the partial exception of Archbishop Derek Worlock of Liverpool, no other bishop ever managed to rival Hume's ascendancy over the English and Welsh hierarchy.
But this could scarcely be laid at Hume's door, since bishops' appointments were largely made on the recommendation of the Papal Nuncio in London. If Hume usually tried to display statesmanlike caution, he also possessed an impulsiveness and sense of mischief which would occasionally get the "Basil hume homosexuality" of him.
This was exhibited most clearly in his dealings with the Church of England. He was shocked when, in Novemberthe General Basil hume homosexuality voted to ordain women priests. But when, soon afterwards, he was approached by scores of Anglo-Catholic priests who promised to bring their congregations over to Rome, he seemed to become positively light-headed at the prospect of a realignment of English Christianity.
In an interview with the Tablet in Marchhe said: The reaction to this from Lambeth Palace was icy, and Cardinal Hume did not expand on that theme. Indeed, he seemed to change his mind and was soon sending out much less encouraging signals to the disaffected Anglican clergy. The idea of a "Roman option" - special concessions for Anglo-Catholic converts, such as Anglican-rite liturgies and a dispensation allowing married priests to run parishes - met a wall of resistance from Hume's fellow English Roman Catholic bishops.
In the event, about Anglican clergy did become Roman Catholics, on Rome's terms. Opinion remained divided as to Hume's role in the drama of the Roman option. Many Anglo-Catholics and some Roman Catholic traditionalists felt that Hume had "dropped the ball" and passed up a wonderful opportunity to supplant the Church of England as the Church of the nation.
Others felt that he was right to distance himself from a group which was perhaps seeking to play off Basil hume homosexuality House, Westminster, against Lambeth Palace to see who would offer the better deal. What was undeniably true, though, was that Anglican clergy in Westminster diocese who decided to submit to Rome could rely on generous treatment from Cardinal Hume.
If nothing else, the crisis illustrated Hume's genius for soundbites. At a press conference inhe was asked if the Elizabethan Settlement might now be at an end. He also told would-be converts that "there is no question of becoming Catholic a la carte. You Basil hume homosexuality to take the menu - or move Basil hume homosexuality another restaurant. His Parisian mother, born Marie Elisabeth Tisseyre, was the daughter of a French colonel and spoke French to her children.
Young George grew up in comfortable circumstances - he had a nurse and learned to ride - which contrasted sharply with the poverty of Tyneside during the Depression. Even as a child, Hume was aware of this: Hume spent, off and on, 42 "Basil hume homosexuality" at Ampleforth, whose preparatory school he joined at the age of 11 and which he only really left to come to Westminster.
At school, Hume took immediately to Basil hume homosexuality monks' brand of muscular Christianity: At 18, he took the difficult decision to join Ampleforth Abbey as a monk - difficult not just because the routine of a junior monk was gruelling, but because - the nation being at war - it meant taking exemption from military service.
During the papal conclaves ofthe student newspaper Cherwell ran a story with the headline "Benet's Man Next Pope? After his solemn vows, he enjoyed many happy years as an Ampleforth housemaster, developing a particular rapport with troublesome pupils.
Hume's appointment as Abbot at the age of 40 coincided with the upheavals of Vatican II.