Archbishop of Westminster 1963-75
by MICHAEL WILSON
Cardinal John Carmel Heenan's death was deeply felt here in the Vatican and in Rome generally, where he has been much liked and respected since his early priesthood days.
In an unusual move, Pope Paul sent a personal message to the Venerable English College in Rome, where Cardinal Heenan had studied and was ordained.
Pope Paul sent telegrams of condolence to Bishop Basil Christopher Butler, sem& auxiliary of Westminster, and to Archbishop John Murphy, vicepresident of the Bishops' conference of England and Wales, of which the cardinal was president, On learning of the Cardinal's death last Friday, the English College mourned his loss that evening and on the following day held a community memorial Mass.
The official Requiem Mass of the English Community in Rome will be held on November 19 in the Cardinal's titular church of St Silvestro in Capite. Cardinal James Robert Knox, prefect of the Congregation of the Sacraments and Divine Worship, will be the chief concelebrant.
Fr James Freeman, rector of St Silvestro; Mgr Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, rector of the English College; Mgr John Francis McDonald, the cardinal's representative for the diocese of Westminser in Rome; and Mgr Brendan Travers, rector of the Beda College, will be concelebrants.
Pope Paul's message to Bishop Butler read: "Having learned with sadness of the death of Cardinal John Carmel Heenan, zealous pastor of the Church in Westminster, we offer our heartfelt condolences to yourself, Bishop Guazzelli, Bishop Mahon and to the clergy, religious and faithful people of the archdiocese, "Invoking upon his soul Christ's peace and light in the heavenly kingdom, we impart with paternal affection our special apostolic blessing to all who mourn him in Christian hope. We would ask you to convey the expression of our particular sympathy to the members of the Cardinal's family." .
To Archbishop Murphy, the Pope telegraphed: "We extend to you our profound sympathy on the death of our beloved brother in Christ Cardinal John Carmel Heenan.
"As we give thanks to God for his years of unstinted dedication to the proclaiming of the Gospel we impart our Apostolic Blessing to yourself, your fellow bishops and to the entire Church in England and Wales in pledge of comforting divine graces."
The Pope's message. sent by Cardinal Villot to the English College read: "The Holy Father expresses to the staff and students of the Venerable English College his prayerful sympathy on the death of Cardinal John Carmel Heenan, zealous pastor of the Church in Westminster and distinguished former student of the college.
"As a token of his affection in the Lord, his Holiness imparts to all of you his Apostolic Blessing."
Cardinal Villot added: "Please accept my personal condolences."
To correspondents who covered the Vatican Council discussions. Cardinal Heenan was a familar, cordial and wellliked personality, always ready to elucidate a complex point or to reduce verbose rhetoric to basic fact.
He would come striding out of the council meetings in St. Peter's around noon, in black cassock, having doffed the choir robe worn by the episcopate during the sessions, wearing no skullcap and often with a raincoat covering his pectoral cross — a priest among so many.
When made a Cardinal I said to him: "I suppose you will now have to get a new outfit?"
"Not at all," he replied. "I shall use as much of my predecessors' as possible. Cardinal Godfrey's socks and perhaps even his shoes will fit me arid so will the robes of himself or his predecessors."
He added: "Besides, after the council there will not be all this Finery."
Asked whether he would invite the Pope to come to England Cardinal Heenan replied: "I already have. I asked him if he would consecrate the new Liverpool cathedral when completed. His Holiness just gave me a smile and said he would be overjoyed to come if he could."