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Cardinal William Theodore Heard


1884 - 1973

First post-Reformation Scottish Cardinal. Born in Edinburgh, the son of the Headmaster of Fettes College, Heard was educated there and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he read law. He converted to Roman Catholicism in 1910 and was ordained as a Priest in 1918 while continuing his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He then spent time engaged in pastoral work in the East End of London (1921-27) before returning to Rome to take up a succession of appointments in the Vatican. He was appointed Dean of the Sacred Roman Rota in 1958 and a Cardinal Deacon the following year. In 1961, he became Cardinal-Protector of the English College. Heard attended the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and participated in the conclave of 1963.

By the time Gordon Archbishop Joseph Gray (1910-93) was elevated to the Sacred College as the first post-Reformation Cardinal to lead the Church in Scotland, Heard was Senior Cardinal Deacon closely attending Pope Paul VI. He was promoted to a Cardinal Priest in 1970.

Heard returned regularly to Scotland in the summer and received an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh.

He died in Rome and lies buried there in the Campo Verano cemetery.


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