The Catholic Church has conferred a papal knighthood on the Nobel Laureate and former SDLP leader John Hume in recognition of his work for peace in Northern Ireland.
Derry diocesan administrator Monsignor Eamon Martin said Pope Benedict had conferred the the honour on Mr Hume.
Mgr Martin said that within the next year the Church will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical on peace, justice and human rights.
“In the light of this anniversary it is particularly appropriate that the Holy Father should recognise Mr Hume with a papal knighthood,” he said.
“He has worked tirelessly for peace and justice, at considerable personal cost and risk. In doing this he has testified to the fundamental dignity of human beings.”
Mgr Martin added that the scroll of conferral will be presented to Mr Hume formally at a later date.