Archbishop of Westminster appointed cardinal by Pope Francis in Vatican ceremony
Most senior Catholic in England and Wales was one of 19 new cardinals named by pontiff
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Sunday 12 January 2014
Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, said he was “deeply moved” after being named cardinal – an appointment that will be seen as strengthening the influence of British Catholicism at the Vatican.
The Archbishop, the most senior Catholic in England and Wales, was one of 19 new cardinals named by Pope Francis on Sunday morning. The official appointment ceremony will take place at the consistory of cardinals at the Vatican next month.
Some commentators believe that the 68-year-old could use the higher-profile platform to raise issues of social justice in the UK.
Archbishop Nichols said: “I am deeply moved by the honour conferred upon the Catholic Church in England and Wales and on the Diocese of Westminster in my appointment.” He added: “This appointment enables me, on behalf of all, to serve the Pope in a direct and prolonged way. Personally, this is a humbling moment.”
The Pope announced the new cardinals after the Angelus in St Peter’s Square. Archbishop Nichols’ predecessor as Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, was also created cardinal, although he can no longer vote in the Conclave as he is over 80.
Catholic writer Clifford Longley said: “Vincent is well respected and has good ecumenical credentials. He’s the senior Archbishop and it is customary for that role to become a Cardinal.”
He added. “It has been the tradition since 1850 that Archbishops of Westminster should have a Cardinal’s hat. There was a certain inevitability about this appointment. The role automatically gives you more respect, and he will have more weight in decision-making at the Vatican.”
The Cardinals are the most senior priests behind the Pope. They act as advisers and help run the church, with their principal role being to elect a new Pope when the previous one abdicates or dies.
Mr Longley told The Independent: “This strengthens the influence of English and Welsh Catholicism, which is on the side of the sort of things, on the whole, that Pope Francis likes.
“Vincent Nichols’ style is to regard issues of social justice as especially important. He takes a strong view that business has lost its way morally and needs to reground itself on moral principles.”
Archbishop Nichols is the 11th Archbishop of Westminster to be named cardinal. He was born in Crosby, Merseyside in 1945. A life-long fan of Liverpool FC, he wanted to be a lorry driver as a child, but as a teenager standing on the terraces in Anfield, “I’d feel a nagging call about what God wanted,” he said.
He studied for the priesthood at the Venerable English College in Rome from 1963 to 1970 and was ordained as a priest in Rome in 1969.
He was made a bishop in 1992 at the age of just 46, then the youngest in the UK, before being named Archbishop of Birmingham at the turn of the century. He moved to Westminster nine years later, an appointment believed to have been made personally by Pope Benedict XVI.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, head of the Church of England, said: “I am absolutely delighted by this well-deserved appointment. Archbishop Nichols has demonstrated clear leadership, personal holiness and immense generosity.”
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Nepal earthquake: Rescuers forced to dig with their bare hands in search for survivors as images show damage to historic buildings
Ed Miliband and Boris Johnson in angry clash live on BBC's Andrew Marr Show
Bali Nine executions: British grandmother on death row in Indonesia Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...