Church leaders pay tribute to late Nobel peace laureate John Hume

The Church of Ireland Primate, Most Rev John McDowell, and the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Andrew Forster, have expressed condolences following the death of the former SDLP leader and Nobel peace laureate, John Hume. Archbishop McDowell said Mr Hume would be remembered for his unambiguous dedication to peaceful means while Bishop Forster described Mr Hume as “one of the giants of modern Irish history”.

Archbishop McDowell’s statement in full:

“Firstly, I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathies and prayers to John Hume’s wife, Pat, and to the wider family.  For many people, even looking on at a distance, Pat’s care for John, especially over the period of his last illness, was exemplary and inspiring.

“John Hume will be remembered not only as a significant politician in Ireland but also for his unambiguous dedication to making political change happen by purely peaceful means.  Because of the manner of his approach, this required enormous patience and sympathetic understanding and those of us who are the beneficiaries of his legacy can only regret his passing while, at the same time, being thankful for his gargantuan efforts in the cause of peace and good relations.

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Bishop Forster’s statement in full:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of the Nobel peace laureate, John Hume – one of the giants of modern Irish history.

“John achieved what many people had thought impossible by plotting a course through the previously uncharted waters of peace in Northern Ireland. He mapped out a route which addressed what he called “the totality of relationships in these islands”: between Unionists and Nationalists; north and south; Britain and Ireland. The approach he prescribed gave rise to our modern peace process.

“Those of us who grew up during the Troubles recognise that Northern Ireland is a better place now because of the courage and commitment of people like John Hume. We owe him and them an enormous debt for what they achieved on our behalf. We would now honour John best by completing that quest to build a better society and a peace that endures.

“I offer my sincere condolences to John’s devoted wife, Pat, and to their five children, and assure the family that they are to the fore in my prayers at this very sad time.”

The Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, has also paid tribute to Mr Hume:
“During turbulent and troubled times, John Hume put his shoulder to the wheel in the service of dialogue and peace,” Archbishop Jackson said.
“He did so for people right across Ireland who lived in fear of the present and in hope of a brighter future.
“His legacy of painstaking dialogue is recognised internationally and was honoured in his lifetime by the joint award with Lord David Trimble of the Nobel Peace Prize. The fruit of his legacy remains the Good Friday – Belfast Agreement.
“We honour his memory, give thanks for his courage and pray for all members of his family.”