St John Plessington Catholic College

Basil Hume

Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1923 to a Scottish father and French Catholic mother, Hume joined Ampleforth monastery in 1941, taking the name Basil, and made his solemn vows in 1945. He studied in Oxford and Frieburg and was ordained in 1950. Returning to Ampleforth, he became assistant priest in the village and a teacher in the school, eventually becoming head of modern languages and school rugby coach. He also taught dogmatic theology to the monks in training.

He formed friendships and connections with people from other denominations, always believing that the love of God was central to religion and to solving conflicts between individuals.

He was made a Cardinal in 1976. Throughout his life he remained a humble and approachable man, preferring to wear a monk's habit instead of his Cardinal's robes. So adept was he at keeping the peace that he promoted the position of Roman Catholics in Britain from one of slight suspicion to one of unthinking acceptance. The Queen rewarded his remarkable achievements shortly before his death in 1999 with the Order of Merit.

"Moral choices do not depend on personal preference and private decision but on right reason and, I would add, divine order."

Cardinal Basil Hume