Page 1, 26th March 1943

26th March 1943
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Page 1, 26th March 1943 — THE DIRGE AND THE REQUIEM THOSE PRESENT
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THE DIRGE AND THE REQUIEM THOSE PRESENT

By a C.H. Reporter

" Darkness is descending on us," spoke the young priest into the microphone of Westminster CathepuIpit. That was in the late evening of Monday, and they had just sung a Dirge for the late Cardinal, whose coffin lay on a ten-foot catafalque in front of me. The young priest thought people had better go home: they would have to put out all those numerous lights. '' You will have an opportunity to pay

your respects some other time. I'm sure you will imderstand," he said. Some of those people went away quietly; but thousands stayed and in the gloaming knelt and prayed by the prelate's remains. Then they all withdrew, and the Cardinal was alone in his Cathedral at

The va.vr nave had been cleared of seats at the transept crossing, and near the marble steps that lead to the sanctuary an impressive catafalque hod been set up with six lotmense candles flanking it, the flickering lights playing in the soft foldsof the rich black and gold pall that surmounted the Cardinal's coffin.

All the Cathedral's electric lights had been turned on, and as I looked past and above them at the great glazed windows above the galleries I saw the " darkness descending." Soon it would be black-out, and all this gorgeous brilliancy and colour would have to be dimmed. Even now the dark shadows that ever seem to caress the bold curves of Westminster's imposing rounded apse began to envelop the marble pillars of the altar canopy. This Dirge, 1 mused, might well be a 't Tenebrae."

Bishop Myers Receives the Coffin Pishop Myers had received the coffin at the great door at 5.30; it came from Hare Street Then he, with Bishops Parker and Mathew and numerous clergy, had presided at the Dirge, with thousands looking on at the unaccustomed service. They put the red biretta on the coffin where the head would be, and with loving hands a Monsignor arranged over the feet the tassels of the huge hat, which is only worn once, when the wearer is created Cardinal, Arthur Hinsley's will hang over his tomb in St. Joseph's chapel till it rots with age. After half-an-hour of chant and monotone and occasional unaccompanied harmony the woman next to me looked at my open book. " Is that what they are singing?" she asked. 1 said yea. She looked at the Latin words, then at me, sighed, and pulled out her beads. Fifteen minutes later she left. She had prayed for the Cardinal—in her own way. Yet it was all amazingly impressive. lt is said that Westminster " outRomanises Rome ": it probably does, where funeral services are concerned, for they have had much experience there with such services. Many functions in the Cathedral that get reported in the national press have to do with the dead. It started that way, the very first service held in it forty years ago having been the funeral of Cardinal Vaughan, the builder of the great church. Next morning all roads led to Westminster, and the galleries of the vast cathedral were packed.

/ was happy to 511 by men who would not have been there but for Cardinal Hinsley's historic 111(11'e towards the ideal of Christian cooperation. I greeted Archbishop Gertnanes, Head of the Greek Orthodox in this country. who wore a black ' habit and tall cylindrical head-gear, the kalemaukion. Next to blur were Bishop Bell of Chichester with two other Anglican Bishops.

The seats in the nave were packed with people from all sections of our most heterogeneous community, all paying their last respects through a two-hour long ceremony to the man who had become in a few short years a national figure and leader. Once again the scene is unforgettable in its splendour : a slight mist in the distant retro-choir where a reinforced men's choir are rendering the Church's solemn chant, and the polyphony of a sixteenth-century composer, with a perfection—I might say even with personal feeling—and with such Amazingly cleat enunciation that every phrase can be easily followed in one's book, enhances the stately distances that make Westminster mysterious and majestic. In the gallery before me four arclamps blaze down on the catafalque, then are moved over to the altar, and back again to the distinguished assembly. Camera shutters fall hack, break the silence; the hiss of the cinematograph camera is a bit disturbing, however.

Five Absolutions For the second time Archbishop Amigo, Bishop of Southwark, sings the Requiem at the demise of an Archbishop of Westminster; he sang it for Cardinal Bourne's solemn obsequies, too. And after Dr. Downey has read his panegyric; at a microphone on the Gospel side of the sanctuary, five prelates, viz., Bishop Myers, Bishop Doubleday of Brentwood, the Archbishop of Cardiff. Archbishop Spellman, of New York, and Archbishop Godfrey, the Apostolic Delegate, don while mitres and black copes and approach the catafalque to give the five Abeolutions. Again they all withdraw, but some people hang back and are presently joined by others in a long line that passes the coffin in silent procession of homage to him whom people call England's greatest Cardinal. The body of the Cardinal was removed it the afternoon of Tuesday to the Holy Souls chapel, where it will remain for the time being until the final resting place in St. Joseph's chapel is ready. The service was conducted by Mgr. Elwes and Mgr. Collings, the Cardinal's secretaries.




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