Nicholas Patrick Stephen Wiseman

1802-1865. English cardinal, first archbishop of Westminster (1850-65), and chiefly responsible for the reestablishment by Pius IX* of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England (1850). Anglo-Irish by birth, rector of the English College, Rome (1828-40), he began promoting the restoration, based on hopes of Catholic revival and the conversion of England, prompted by news of the Oxford Movement.* He returned to England as president of Oscott College, Birmingham, and coadjutor bishop to the vicar apostolic of the Midlands (1840). In 1847 he undertook a special mission, in the name of the English bishops, to the new Pope Pius IX to urge restoration, which occurred in September 1850. Pius IX named him cardinal and first English Catholic primate. Wiseman's enthusiastic announcement of it (October 1850) awakened popular anti-Catholicism, abetted by Prime Minister Lord John Russell's alarm against “papal aggression.” Wiseman promoted Ultramontane* principles and practices, established English branches of religious orders, and organized basic Catholic ministries among the newly immigrant Irish. Among many writings he published a scholarly study on Syriac (1827) and lectures on science and the Bible (1835), founded the Dublin Review (1835), and wrote a popular novel Fabiola (1854).

See biographies by W. Ward (2 vols., 1897), E. Gwynn (1950), and B. Fothergill (1963).