Tributes to Cardinal John Carmel Heenan eighth Archbishop of Westminster, continued to pour in today as the Prime Minister, four Cardinals and over 60 bishops attended his funeral at Westminster Cathedral.
The Cardinal's death last Friday, Preceded by the resignation of Archbishop George Beck of Liverpool, last month, has left the Church in England and Wales without some of its most influential leaders. The chapter of Westminster Cathedral have elected Bishop Butler, senior Auxiliary bishop of Westminster, as Vicar Capitular to take charge of the Archdiocese, The Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Bruno Heim, acknowledging two telegrams of sympathy from Pope Paul, to priests and faithful and to Archbishop Murphy of Cardiff, said the Cardinal, "in view of his ill-health, ' had offered his resignation to the Pope on September 23.
He added: "It was the Cardinal's hope that his successor might be named by March 12, 1976, on which date he himself would have celebrated his silver jubilee as a bishop."
Archbishop Heim said the Cardinal had last year asked his priests and people to send their views on his successor to the Apostolic Delegation. Many had taken advantage of this invitation, but "those who still wish to do so should write soon."
He said it had been the Cardinal's wish that "the Church should not remain without a leader for a long period."
Cardinal Heenan "did not wish to have any influence over the choice of his successor, but he did say to me that he should be a younger man, sound in health and a strong leader," the Archbishop said. The Canons of Westminster Cathedral have the right to submit three names, all the bishops of England and Wales will be asked for their views individually, and all the names suggested by them, the priests and laity will be considered, he said.
"Those who receive most support from all these sources will be presented to the Holy Father for his final choice," he said.
A Catholic Information Office spokesman said this could take between three and six months.
The Cardinal's great popularity both among Catholic and the general public, to whom he beckme known through regular radio and televisron appearances, was reflected in the large number who came to pay him tribute visiting his coffin in Westminster Hall since Wednesday. The Prime Minister and Mrs Wilson and Mrs Margaret Thatcher, Leader of the Conservative Party, were among the first to file past. Those attending the funeral included Cardinal Gray of Scotland; Cardinal Conway of Ireland; Cardinal Marty of France; Cardinal Suenens of Belgium;' Archbishop Lord Ramsey of Canterbury with eight Anglican bishops and most of the 36 bishops of England and Wales.
Other Church representatives attending included Bishop Birch of Ossory, in whose diocese of Clareen, Co Offaly, Cardinal Heenan's parents were born; Archbishop Athenagoras of the Greek Orthodox Church; the Moderator and Secretary of the Free Church Federal Council; the Presidents and General Secretaries of the Methodist Church; the Baptist Union; and a former Moderator of the United Reformed Church.
The Queen was represented by Lord Jacques; the Cabinet by Lord Sir John Hunt and Lady Hunt; the Conservative Party by Shadow Minister for Education, Norman St John-Stevas; the Liberal Party by Jeremy Thorpe and his mother; the Irish Government by Dr Donal O'Sullivan, the Irish Ambassador. Others present included the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk.
The Requiem Mass was concelebrated by Bishop Casey of Brentwood, together with the Catholic Bishops attending.
Archbishop Dwyer of Birmingham, a close friend of the Cardinal's, preached the Panegyric at the end of the Mass.
The boys attending the Westminster Cathedral Choir School gave up part of their half-term holiday to take part in the Requiem Mass, which was televised on BBC 1 and Broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Children attending included 100 from St Peter and St Paul's School, Ilford, where the Cardinal was once a pupi I . Bishop Casey has invited all the priests of his diocese of Brentwood to attend a Requiem Mass on November 20 at St Peter and St Paul's Church. Ilford, where Cardinal Heenan was baptised.
Described by Lord Ramsey in a tribute as "a speaker of the first rank" who "knew how to use wit, irony and satire as well as logic and pathos" he was better known to non-Catholics than any of his predecessors. Stories of his pastoral zeal abound and three national newsnaners headlined news of his death respectively 'People's Priest', The People's Bishop' and the 'People's Cardinal.'
Mgr Bruce Kent, said he would carry out one of the Cardinal's last requests next week. This was to attend the Annual General Meeting of Consolidated Goldfields, in which the Westminster Diocese held shares, and enquire about the working conditions of Africans employed by the company. Cardinal Heenan, who received the last rites after several heart attacks including the last, had himself little fear of death.
He said: "Death is not such a terrible thing. It is the end of suffering and the uncertainty of life on earth. It is the beginning of life with God."