|Vatican||POPE JOINS MOURNING FOR CARDINAL HUME|
Pope John Paul on Friday paid tribute to Cardinal Basil Hume, the late leader of Catholics in England and Wales for 23 years, commending Hume's ``noble soul'' to God.
``I thank the Lord for having given the Church a shepherd of great spiritual and moral character, of sensitive and unflinching ecumenical commitment and firm leadership in helping people of all beliefs to face the challenges of the last part of this difficult century,'' the Pope said in a letter to the Archdiocese of Westminster in London.
The Pontiff said Hume's example of devotion to the Benedictine order, his work as president of the Bishops' Conference ``as well as his witness of dignity and hope in the face of the mystery of suffering and death, will inspire all who knew him to ever greater fidelity and to the gospel of salvation.''
Meanwhile more than 2000 mourners packed into Westminster Cathedral on Friday for the first official service marking the death from cancer of Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster. Dr George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Archbishop Pablo Puente, the Pope's ambassador in London, were among the worshippers.
Hume, a Benedictine monk once spoken of as a possible Pope, died of cancer on Thursday in a London hospital aged 76. He will be buried after a funeral mass at Westminster Cathedral on Friday.
AP & Churchnet 11:40am 21/6/99