Scotland´s Cardinal Thomas Winning Dies

Glasgow Archbishop Was a Leading Pro-lifer

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GLASGOW, Scotland, JUNE 17, 2001 ( Cardinal Thomas Joseph Winning, the leader of Scotland´s Catholics and a prominent pro-lifer in Britain, died of a heart attack this morning. He was 76.

The archbishop of Glasgow died suddenly at his home in Newlands, two days after being discharged from Victoria Infirmary where he had been recovering from a June 8 heart attack.

In February 1997, he attracted media attention when he launched the archdiocese´s Pro-Life Initiative, giving financial, material and moral help to women contemplating abortion.

«Give birth to the child you carry in your womb, and the Church will help you,» was the cardinal´s message.

With donations, he established a fund to help new mothers buy baby clothes and pay for pediatric and day-care expenses, among other things. The initiative included groups of volunteers who look after both mother and child.

«The role of the Church is not just to condemn, reject and excommunicate,» the cardinal explained. «It is also necessary to propose something more positive. We Scots prefer to act rather than talk. This is why I wanted to offer women an alternative, who saw in abortion the only way out.»

John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said in a statement: «The cardinal was perhaps the foremost champion in Britain of the sanctity of human life. He fought tirelessly and fearlessly against abortion, cloning and euthanasia.»

Cardinal Winning, of Irish and Scottish descent, was ordained a priest in Rome in 1948. In 1971 Paul VI named him auxiliary archbishop of Glasgow. Three years later, he was promoted to archbishop. John Paul II made him a cardinal in 1994.

Cardinal Winning was president of the Bishops Conference of Scotland and a member of the Pontifical Councils for the Family and the Promotion of Christian Unity.

With his death, there are now 181 cardinals, including 133 under age 80 who could vote in a conclave for a new pope.

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