Catholics frustrated by failure to replace Hume

THE PILGRIM door of Westminster Cathedral, which was sealed with holy oil by Cardinal Hume in March, will be ceremonially opened with a golden hammer at 11pm tonight to inaugurate the Jubilee Year 2000.

Declared by the Pope every 25 years, Jubilee years are traditionally inaugurated by the opening of the Holy Door at St Peter's Basilica in Rome. This year the Pope invited Catholics across the world to share in the symbolism by sealing a door to their cathedral or parish church and then opening it tonight.

Cardinal Hume, who died in June, had hoped to perform the role of door opener, which now falls to the Right Rev Vincent Nichols, the administrator of the Westminster diocese until a successor is found. Many of the regular worshippers are frustrated that the Pope has not appointed a new Archbishop of Westminster in time for the landmark occasion.

"Why are we waiting?" read the front page headline in the December issue of the diocesan newspaper, Westminster Record, stating publicly what many of the congregation feel privately. The editor, Fr Kit Cunningham, criticised Rome's "slowness" in filling the most senior post in the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales. "It is important for the diocese to have a new head in time for the opening of the Jubilee Year," he wrote. "It would add to the dignity and importance of the Holy Year, and also the commemoration of the Third Millennium. It is no reflection on the present administration that has to carry on, but it would have been the wish of the late Cardinal Hume, who had dearly hoped to have been with us, that someone would have been appointed in his place."

Fr Cunningham went on to advocate the appointment of one of the diocese's own bishops. Later, he confirmed that he had in mind Bishop Nichols, who is understood to have been Cardinal Hume's chosen successor.

The decision as to the successor rests with the Pope, who has received a confidential shortlist of three drawn up by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pablo Puente, the Pope's ambassador to the Court of St James's.

The rumour is circulating that the Pope is having difficulty finding the right man for the job and is unlikely to make an announcement until next spring.

Cardinal Hume was the spiritual head of the 4 million Catholics of England and Wales. Whoever succeeds him as Archbishop of Westminster is likely to become a cardinal and president of the Bishops' Conference, giving him a high profile on the national stage.

The much-loved late cardinal, under whose leadership Catholicism gained acceptability in mainstream British life, is widely regarded as a hard act to follow.

Three of the possible candidates - the Right Rev Dom Timothy Wright, the Most Rev Timothy Radcliffe, and Fr Michael Fitzgerald - come from religious orders rather than diocesan positions, just as the late cardinal did, while two of them - Master of the Dominican order Radcliffe, and Abbot Wright - share his aristocratic credentials.

The first Mass of Christmas, celebrated by Bishop Nichols, will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 at 11.15pm tonight.

CONTENDERS FOR ARCHBISHOP'S ROLE

Dom Timothy Wright, 57, Abbot of Ampleforth

Born into a distinguished Derbyshire Catholic family, he was a monk at Ampleforth, entering the community in 1962 after studying geography at Oxford and divinity at London University. He was ordained in 1972.

Odds 2/1

Patrick Kelly, 61, Archbishop of Liverpool

Vatican may be unwilling to move him after only four years in his present post. Some say he is too quiet for such a high-profile job. The only member of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales with an international reputation as a theologian.

Odds 5/4 favourite

Michael Fitzgerald, 62, Secretary for the Pontifical Council for Inter- Religious Dialogue, based in Rome

Born in Walsall. As a member of the White Fathers, he has worked in Africa. The senior Englishman in the papal civil service, the Curia. Intellectual, but not bookish.

Odds 4/1

Vincent Nichols, 54, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster

Administrator of the Westminster diocese until a new cardinal is appointed. Cardinal Hume favoured him as the one to take the reins. A natural leader, but inexperience as a diocesan bishop may count against him.

Odds 6/1

Timothy Radcliffe OP, 54, Master General of the Dominicans, based in Rome

A member of a leading Catholic family. Head of Dominicans, the first Englishman appointed since the order was founded in 1216. Highly intelligent and a bit of a radical. Writes on theology and social justice.

Odds 7/1

David Konstant, 69, Bishop of Leeds

Considered rather old for the job, but he would be a safe pair of hands. Born to non-Catholic parents, he was brought up a Catholic by his grandmother after his mother, Dulcie, an actress, died of jaundice when he was six months old.

Odds 50/1

Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, 67, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton

Born in Reading, he trained in Rome at the English College and became its Rector in 1971. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, recently awarded him a doctorate in divinity for his work in ecumenism.

Odds 16/1

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on