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Friday, June 18, 1999 Published at 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK


Pope mourns Cardinal Hume

Cardinal Hume will be buried at Westminster Cathedral

The BBC's Emily Buchanan: "He was love personified"
Pope John Paul II has paid his tribute to Cardinal Basil Hume, the leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, who died of cancer on Thursday.

The Pope said he had learned "with great sadness" of the death of the cardinal, who was also Archbishop of the Westminster diocese.

[ image: Cardinal Hume: Respected and loved]
Cardinal Hume: Respected and loved
"I thank the Lord for having given the church a shepherd of great spiritual and moral character," the Pope wrote in a telegram to the archdiocese. He praised his "sensitive and unflinching ecumenical commitment and firm leadership".

The Pope said he was confident that the cardinal's devoted service "will inspire all who knew him," and said he offered "prayerful condolences" for those who mourn.

Huge crowds were gathering on Friday for a requiem mass, to be held at Westminster Cathedral in London at 1700 BST. The funeral will take place in seven days.

Abdominal cancer

The 76-year-old cardinal died peacefully on Thursday with two priests at his bedside, two months after disclosing that he had abdominal cancer.

Father James Curry: "We have lost a good and eminently lovable man"
Last month he entered hospital for what was called "palliative care". A statement from Archbishop's House, Westminster, said: "The cardinal had just been anointed and they were praying with him when he died peacefully and without pain.

"In his last days, the cardinal had weakened considerably but he remained calm and at peace throughout."

His private secretary, Father James Curry, was with him when he died.

[ image: The Pope praised Hume's leadership]
The Pope praised Hume's leadership
"All of us who work as members of his staff at Archbishop's House feel an intense loss," he said, and paid tribute to the "happy working environment" created by the cardinal.

One of Cardinal Hume's last appearances in public was 2 June, when he went to Buckingham Palace to be made a member of the Order of Merit by the Queen.

A palace spokesman said: "The Queen is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal Hume, whom she will remember for his outstanding contribution to the Christian life of this country."

Prime Minister Tony Blair paid tribute to a man he called "goodness personified", and said "he did much to inspire people of all faiths, and none".

And the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, said: "We worked together closely and productively for many years and throughout that time my respect, admiration and affection for him have grown."

Funeral arrangements

The funeral mass and burial of Cardinal Hume will take place on 25 June at Westminster Cathedral.

BBC Religious Affairs Correspondent Alex Kirby: "Speculation about Cardinal Hume's likely successor is already building up"
The body will be brought into the cathedral hall on Monday, 21 June, where it will lie in state from 0900BST to 1930BST for three days.

On Thursday afternoon, the body will be taken up Ambrosden Avenue to the cathedral, where the reception and evening prayer for the dead will take place at 1700BST.

There will be a series of vigils of prayer thoroughout the evening until around 2030BST, for people to pay their respects to the cardinal.

The funeral mass and burial will take place on Friday at 1100BST in the cathedral.

There will also be a memorial mass for the cardinal at a time yet to be decided.

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