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Cardinal Francis Bourne
posted on 11 January 2005
Francis Bourne
Francis Bourne

Born in Clapham in 1861 of an English (Civil Servant) father and an Irish mother. At the age of 8 he went to Ushaw and at 16 to St Edmund’s College, Ware. He tried his vocation with the Dominicans at Woodchester, but in 1880 aged 19 he went to Hammersmith College and then at 20, on to St. Sulpice in Paris. After 2 years there he went to Louvain. He was ordained in Clapham in 1884 when he was 23.

Five years later he was appointed Rector of St John’s Seminary Wonersh. In 1896 he was Coadjutor Bishop of Southwark and by 1903 Archbishop of Westminster, aged 42. During the Eucharistic Congress in London (1908) he defied a Government ban on public processions of the Blessed Sacrament by giving the Blessing from the Cathedral Loggia. He became Cardinal – with the titular Church of S. Prudentiana – when he was 40 in 1911.
He became known for his patriotic speeches during the First World War, he upheld the rights of the Arabs in Palestine, was a fervent supporter of Catholic schools, denounced the violence in Ireland, reproved the Modernists, and was luke-warm towards inter-faith talks. He opposed the idea of a separate Catholic University and a Catholic Political Party – Catholics must mix.

He died 1 January, 1935, aged 73.

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