Vincent Nichols. Archbishop of Westminster.

Vincent Nichols. Archbishop of Westminster.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, will be one of 19 new cardinals from around the world who will be appointed at the next consistory of cardinals, which takes place at the Vatican on February 22. “I am deeply moved by the honor conferred on the Catholic Church in England and Wales and on the Diocese of Westminster in my appointment,” he said upon hearing of the news. “Personally this is a humbling moment.”

It is thought that Nichols may help the ongoing process of improving relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. The head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, welcomed the announcement of Nichols’ selection by the Pope.

“I am absolutely delighted by this well-deserved appointment,” Welby said. “Archbishop Nichols has demonstrated clear leadership, personal holiness and immense generosity. This strengthens the church in this country.”

Nichols will not be the only British cardinal when he is appointed. His predecessor as Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, is already in the role but no longer has voting rights at the consistory because he is more than 80 years old. There is also Cardinal Keith O’Brien who stepped down as leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland last year after admitting to sexual misconduct.

Nichols is the 11th Archbishop of Westminster to be created a cardinal.

He was born in Crosby, Liverpool, in 1945 and as a young boy, he wanted to become a lorry driver.

He first felt the calling to become a priest at a football match as he explained in an interview with The Times in 2007.

“I’d gone to watch Liverpool and stand on the Kop at Anfield, and say to God, ‘Why don’t you just leave me alone? Why can’t I just be one of a crowd?’” he said.

The now-68-year-old studied for the priesthood in Rome from 1963 to 1970 and was ordained as a priest in the city in 1969. He earned an MA in theology at Manchester University and an MEd from Loyola University, Chicago. He was named as the eighth Archbishop of Birmingham in 2000 and was appointed Archbishop of Westminster in 2009. That same year he was unanimously elected President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Reflecting on his appointment, he said: “This appointment enables me, on behalf of all, to serve the Pope in a direct and prolonged way. I seek the blessing of Almighty God for these new responsibilities and I ask for the prayers of all people of faith that I may fulfill them with energy and devotion.”

—ITV Staff


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