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Wiseman, Nicholas Patrick Stephen

Nicholas Patrick Stephen Wiseman, 1802–65, English prelate, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, b. Seville, Spain, of Irish-English parentage. In 1836 he founded (with Daniel O'Connell) the Dublin Review. In 1840 he was taken from his rectorship of the English College at Rome (which he had held since 1828) and made coadjutor to the vicar apostolic of the central district of England. Later he was appointed vicar apostolic of the London district. He was very influential among Catholics and was sympathetic to the Oxford movement. In 1850 the pope restored the hierarchy in England; Wiseman was appointed a cardinal (the first English cardinal in modern times) and was selected as the first archbishop of Westminster, the Catholic primate of England. He succeeded in allaying much of the suspicion that existed between the older Catholic families of England and the newer converts and worked to lessen the anti-Catholic feeling in England. He wrote many books, notably Fabiola (1854), a historical novel of early Christianity. Henry Edward Manning was his assistant and successor.

See E. E. Reynolds, Three Cardinals (1958); biography by B. Fothergill (1963).

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Wiseman, Nicholas

Wiseman, Nicholas (1802–65). First cardinal-archbishop of Westminster. Born of Irish parents in Seville, Wiseman was educated in Co. Durham and at the English College, Rome, where he later became rector (1828–44) and titular bishop (1840). Pius IX sent Wiseman as pro-vicar-apostolic to the London district in 1848 and then (1850) appointed him cardinal, intending to restore the English catholic hierarchy with Wiseman as archbishop. So great was English resentment that Parliament passed the Ecclesiastical Titles Act (1851), prohibiting catholics from assuming episcopal territorial titles. Wiseman's moderation and sensitive administration assuaged suspicions; the Act was repealed (1871) without ever being invoked. Chiefly remembered for restoring the English hierarchy and placing ‘Roman catholics of England on the map’, Wiseman was also a linguist and scholar.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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