WASHINGTON--Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, President of the National Conference of Catholic
Bishops/United States Catholic Conference, issued the following statement on behalf of the NCCB/USCC today after learning of the death of Cardinal George Basil Hume of Westminster.
The Catholic Bishops of the United States, gathered in Tucson for a Special Assembly, wish to express our deep sorrow at the passing of Cardinal George Basil Hume of Westminster. Cardinal Hume was an outstanding leader for the worldwide Church as well as for his own nation and Archdiocese of Westminster.
We feel especially close to Cardinal Hume at this moment because we had hoped that he would be with us to lead our special assembly on the theme The Challenge of Episcopal Leadership in the Third Millennium. Foreseeing the possibility that his illness would prevent his being with us, he graciously provided a videotape of his insightful and thought-provoking presentation, ripe with the wisdom of his twenty-three years as a Bishop.
Cardinal Hume was with us to lead another Special Assembly in 1982 on the theme Prayer and Reflection on Episcopal Ministry. Then, as now, we were moved by his words but even more so by the example of his own deeply rooted love of the Church and his dedication to fulfilling his duties of Bishop after the example of Christ, our Good Shepherd.
In his talk, Cardinal Hume told us that when he thought about how much was expected of him as a Bishop, he would read the first chapter of St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, "where he writes about God choosing the weak of this world to confound the strong, choosing the things that are not to bring to nought the things that are." "Then I feel better," Cardinal Hume said humbly. We too "feel better" for having a fellow Bishop whose faith in God and the Church placed him among the great and good spirits of our times. May he rest in peace and may his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen