The Reason For Liverpool's New Cathedral
Nearly 3o,000 people gathered on the site of the new cathedral at Liverpool last Sunday for the Solemn High Mass sung by Mgr. Downey, Archbishop of Liverpool, in honour of the late Archbishop, Mgr. Whiteside, whose body had been reinterred in the cathedral crypt a few days before.
Fifteen years ago the Catholics of the Liverpool Archdiocese accorded to the late Archbishop, Mgr. Whiteside, the greatest funeral ever witnessed on Merseyside, a tribute which was readily understandable, for his Grace during his long episcopate had won the veneration and affection of his flock.
The scene on this sunny afternoon was a striking one—a fitting tribute to the memory and saintly character of the first archbishop of the Northern Province.
The new cathedral is being built in his memory.
In an address after the Mass Mgr. Downey said that the universal love and respect in which the late Archbishop was held demanded that a worthy monument should be erected to his memory. Hence it had been decided to build a metropolitan cathedral in the Archdiocese to take the place of York Minster of old as the symbol and centre of Catholicism in the North.
The project was taken up enthusiastically by Mgr. Whiteside's illustrious successor, Mgr. Keating, under whose influence the Metropolitan Cathedral Building Fund Was inaugurated and grew to such proportions that in 1930 they were able to purchase the magnificent site and begin building. The crypt of the cathedral was now half completed, and ready to receive the mortal remains of the man who gave inspiration to the cathedral project.
History for the Future
" To those who come after us it will be of historic interest that the first sacred function held within the walls of our cathedral was the liturgical re-interment of Archbishop Whiteside's body," said Mgr. Downey. " To us it is of immediate interest that his tomb is now more easily accessible, in an appropriate setting which lends itself to the enrichment which we desire to give it. In a manner of speaking, within the cathedral precincts he will be perpetually present to us, stimulating us to emulate his example."
He continued, " In his case the good that he did was not interred with his bones. In Fide er Caritate ( In Faith and Charity ') was his episcopal motto, and assuredly he spread the faith and strengthened the bonds of charity
throughout the archdiocese. •
" His faith manifested itself, in his ardent attachment to the Holy See and the scrupulous care with which he carried out its decrees with regard, for instance, to First Communion for children at an earlier age, more frequent and even daily reception of the Holy Eucharist, and in condemnation of the errors of modernism ..."
Mgr. Whiteside's Foresight
Besides consolidating the work of his three predecessors in the See of Liverpool, Mgr. Whiteside had provided well for the future needs of the diocese, said Mgr. Downey. He had, in fact, been a pioneer in the field of church extension in this country. During his episcopate forty-five new missions were opened and provided for. Non-Catholics were indebted to him for his successful championship of the cause of voluntary schools when their very existence was threatened Some thirty years ago.
He had been known affectionately as " The Bishop of the Poor," Mgr. Downey went on. He was active in prompting social welfare before the movement gained the impetus which it has to-day.
Twenty-nine different charitable institutions were founded under his patronage, including homes for working boys, for babies, for orphans, for the blind, for the dying, for crippled and incurable women and children. for mental defectives. besides industrial schools, Magdalen asylums, night shelters, poor law schools, and special schools for "difficult" children. "He was essentially a strong man, but his was the strength that goes with true humility for though in fortitude he was like the trunk of a tree, in humility he was a blade of grass. His strength was the strength of one who does all things in God Who strengthens him.
" From his youth upwards he had ground at the grammar of spiritual life till he had mastered it, till he visualised everything sub specie aeternitatis, till he visualised all things temporal from the standpoint of the eternal," concluded ,Mgr. Downey.
Inspecting the Tomb
After the service until dusk thousands filed past the tomb, in the half-finished crypt. filing two deep between a guard of C.Y.M.S. two thousand strong.
Prior to leaving the site Mgr. Downey asked the President of the C.Y.M.S. to convey to the members of the Society present his gratitude and thanks for their splendid attendance.