Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Prudence of Cardinal Hume

This is not a post destined to make me a lot of friends.

I am sure that like many of you, I find myself like a bystander at a car crash watching the Jimmy Savile-BBC-[Insert name of public body] affair unravel.

In the noise and thunder, I could not help thinking about the role of Cardinal Hume. From what I have read of him, his personal integrity and holiness, as far as one can judge these things as a mortal human being, are unquestioned. A couple of thoughts keep creeping up on me about the late Cardinal Hume with regard to the affair, which perhaps I should keep to myself, but I don't think I can.

As I alluded in a previous post, Savile's sexual reputation in Leeds was not one of a man of restraint and he made no secret of the fact that he was a sexual libertine (I can't find the link but there were reports in the papers of him having had "hundreds" of casual sexual liaisons, he gleefully shows condoms in his luggage on the Louis Theroux programme aired on the BBC). These were hardly state secrets.

Yet it appears that Cardinal Hume felt him a fit enough person to personally meet the Holy Father during the 1982 Papal Visit. Cardinal Hume also thought the rather bizarre Savile a suitable prospective member of The Athenaeum. The world of gentlemens' clubs is something of a mystery to me (though I have been a member of three working mens clubs in my time), and I have no idea why a Benedictine monk would want to join one, though I have no objection to them doing so, but quite why one would want a cigar-chomping, tracksuited, bling-clad disc-spinner as a fellow member is beyond me. His attire would have had him slung out of the lounge in any of the working mens' clubs I belonged to.

It was also on Hume's watch that 'Sir' Jimmy was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great.  I have known some KSG's and one KCSG over the years. They were uniformly men of propriety and piety. Heaven knows what they think of the current goings on.

So I have to say this casts some doubt, to my mind, on the wisdom and prudence of the late Cardinal, or at least his judgement of character. I am glad he is not alive to be embarrassed, but it does perhaps explain a spectacular decline all manner of aspects of Catholic life in E+W over the last quarter of the 20th Century.

Discuss. But play nice.


Anonymous Richard Collins said...

Was not not Cardinal Hume who flew to Rome to intervene just at the moment that Pope JP II was about to restore the Latin Mass. That intervention resulted in the establishment of the awful indult and put the cause of the TLM back by 20 years?

5:45 PM  
Blogger Jacobi said...

With the benefit of hindsight we now see how profound was the influence of Relativism on society in the mid 20th century, and that clearly included so many in the Church.

Now, in the Church at least, this is seeping away, but it will take time.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Lynda said...

As you point out, Jimmy Savile made it clear to all that he was lecherous and debauched, and convicted in his sinful way of life. He ought not to have been receiving Holy Communion, never mind have been honoured by the Church. However, the police ought not to be making statements attributing criminal responsibility to someone who has not and cannot be tried in a court of law.

1:43 AM  
Anonymous Francis said...

I've never heard that Pope John Paul II was planning to restore the Traditional Latin Mass.

I also thought it was Cardinal Heenan back in the early 1970's who obtained an indult (from Pope Paul VI) for the celebration of the TLM in England - subject to certain conditions.

This meant that (unlike in most other countries) the TLM was never banned in England - but a small number of priests (like Mgr Alfred Gilby) were given permission to continue to celebrate the TLM.

10:27 PM  

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