Francis Bourne

His Eminence
Francis Bourne
Cardinal, Archbishop of Westminster
Cardinal Bourne
Archdiocese Westminster
Province Westminster
Appointed 11 September 1903
Term ended 1 January 1935
Predecessor Herbert Vaughan
Successor Arthur Hinsley
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Santa Pudenziana
Ordination 11 June 1884
Consecration 1 May 1896
by Herbert Vaughan
Created Cardinal 27 November 1911
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Birth name Francis Alphonsus Bourne
Born (1861-03-23)23 March 1861
Clapham, Surrey, England
Died 1 January 1935(1935-01-01) (aged 73)
London, England
Buried St. Edmund's College, Ware, Hertfordshire, England
Nationality British
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
  • Coadjutor Bishop of Southwark (1896-1897)
  • Titular Bishop of Epiphania in Cilicia (1896-1897)
  • Bishop of Southwark (1897-1903)
Styles of
Francis Bourne
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal

Francis Alphonsus Bourne (1861–1935) was an English prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Westminster from 1903 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1911.[1]


  • Biography 1
    • Early life 1.1
    • Archbishop 1.2
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Early life

Born in Clapham to an English Civil Servant father and an Irish mother, Francis Bourne entered St. Cuthbert College at Ushaw Moor, County Durham in 1867 and then St. Edmund's College in Ware in 1877. He joined the Order of Friars Preachers, more commonly known as the Dominicans, in Woodchester but left in 1880. From 1880 to 1881 he attended St. Thomas' Seminary in Hammersmith, and then went to study in France at Saint-Sulpice Seminary in Paris and the University of Leuven. While in Paris, he met the Italian saint Don Bosco, and considered joining Don Bosco's Salesian Order.[2]

He was ordained to the priesthood on 11 June 1884, and then did pastoral work in Blackheath, Mortlake, and West Grinstead until 1889. Bourne was rector of the House of Studies at Henfield Place from 1889 to 1891, at which time he began teaching at St. John's Seminary in Wonersh, of which he became rector on 14 March 1896. He was raised to the rank of Domestic Prelate of His Holiness by Pope Leo XIII in 1895.

On 27 March 1896 Bourne was appointed Bishop of Southwark on 9 April 1897, and was named Archbishop of Westminster on 11 September 1903. As Archbishop of Westminster, he became the spiritual head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.


In defiance of the governmental law banning Eucharistic processions, Bourne gave the benediction from the loggia of Westminster Cathedral in 1908. He was created Cardinal-Priest of S. Pudenziana by Pope Pius X in the consistory of 27 November 1911, and was a cardinal elector in the conclaves of 1914 and again in 1922, which selected Popes Benedict XV and Pius XI respectively.

Bourne responded to Ramsay MacDonald's call for an English Catholic prelate's interpretation of Pius XI's encyclical Quadragesimo anno, which forbade Catholics from being Socialists, by stating, "There is nothing in the encyclical which should deter Catholics from becoming members of the British Labour Party..."[3] However, the Cardinal continued to warn Catholics to be cautious of the "erroneous principles which sometimes affect parties."

Rather conservative, Bourne was opposed to Modernism. He was not overly supportive of interfaith dialogue[4] nor of ecumenism (he notably opposed the holding of the Malines Conversations between prominent Anglicans and Catholics). He also condemned granting greater freedom to divorce and birth control.[5] He also desired to see the United Kingdom adopt Roman Catholic faith as its official religion.[6]

He died from a year's illness in his archiepiscopal residence in London, at age 73.[7] Bourne was buried at his alma mater of St. Edmund's College, Ware, Hertfordshire, in the chapel he established in memory of the College's members who died during World War I, and his heart was placed in the chapel of St. John's Seminary at Wonersh, Surrey, in June 1935.[8]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Vickers, Mark "By the Thames Divided" 2013
  3. ^ TIME Magazine. Westminster's Word 29 June 1931
  4. ^ Diocese of Westminster. Cardinal Francis Bourne 11 January 2005
  5. ^ TIME Magazine. Emancipation 23 September 1929
  6. ^ TIME Magazine. "The Greatest Priest" 3 December 1923
  7. ^ TIME Magazine. Milestones 7 January 1935
  8. ^ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. BOURNE, Francis

External links

  • Diocese of Westminster
  • Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church
  • Catholic-Hierarchy
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Baptist Butt
Bishop of Southwark
Succeeded by
Peter Emmanuel Amigo
Preceded by
Herbert Vaughan
Archbishop of Westminster
Succeeded by
Arthur Hinsley
Preceded by
Victor-Lucien-Sulpice Lécot
Cardinal Priest of Santa Pudenziana
Succeeded by
Luigi Maglione
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