POPE FRANCIS has named the Roman Catholic Archbishop of
Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols (above), among
19 new cardinals.
Archbishop Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops'
Conference of England and Wales, will be made a cardinal by the
Pope at a consistory at the Vatican on 22 February. The
announcement was made on Sunday by the Pope, after praying the
Angelus in St Peter's Square.
Afterwards, Archbishop Nichols said that he was "deeply moved"
by the appointment, which, he said, enabled him "to serve the Pope
in a direct and prolonged way. . . Personally, this is a humbling
moment, when I am asked to take a place in this service of the Holy
See, and in the line of much loved Cardinal Archbishops of
The Archbishop of Canterbury said in a statement that he was
"absolutely delighted" by the "well-deserved" appointment.
"Archbishop Nichols has demonstrated clear leadership, personal
holiness, and immense generosity," he said. "This strengthens the
Church in this country."
The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, described the appointment as
"wonderful news" for the RC Church in England and Wales.
He said: "During my time serving alongside Archbishop Vincent in
Birmingham, I was able to witness first hand his passion and
commitment for the Church, and I am delighted to see that both of
these have been recognised in today's announcement.
"It is also good to see that, as a passionate fan of Liverpool
FC, Archbishop Vincent will be getting a red hat to go with his
precious red shirt."
In a letter to the new cardinals, Pope Francis said that the
cardinalate did not signify a promotion, honour, or decoration. "It
is simply a service that calls for enlarging one's vision and
widening one's heart," he said.
Born in Crosby, Liverpool, on 8 November 1945, Archbishop
Nichols studied for the priesthood in Rome in the 1960s, gaining
licences in philosophy and theology at the Gregorian University. He
was ordained priest in 1969 for the archdiocese of Liverpool.
He served in parishes in Wigan and Toxteth before being
appointed general secretary of the Bishops' Conference in 1984.
Seen as a protégé of Cardinal Basil Hume, in 1992 he was
consecrated Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, with responsibility
for north London. He was named Archbishop of Birmingham in February
2000, before returning to Westminster in 2009 to succeed the
retiring Archbishop, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. He was
elected President of the Bishops' Conference in the same year.
The forthcoming consistory will bring the number of cardinals
under the age of 80, and therefore able to elect a pope in a
conclave, to 122.