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Archbishop Nichols is named cardinal

17 January 2014

MAZUR/Catholic News.org.uk

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 Westminster."

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.

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