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Nichols made a cardinal

The Archbishop of Westminster has said he is "deeply moved" to be appointed a cardinal by the Pope.

Vincent Nichols will be made a cardinal at the next consistory on February 22, the Catholic Church in England and Wales confirmed.

Archbishop Nichols said: "Today, 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 as Cardinal by His Holiness Pope Francis.

"The Catholic Church in our countries has always had a profound and loving loyalty to the Holy Father, the Successor of St Peter. This appointment enables me, on behalf of all, 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.

"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 fulfil them with energy and devotion."

Archbishop Nichols is the 11th Archbishop of Westminster to be named as cardinal.

He will receive the red hat on the Feast of St Peter in Rome at the next consistory of cardinals.

The announcement came during Pope Francis' Angelus in St Peter's Square this morning, in which he created 15 more elector cardinals and three non-elector cardinals.

Born in Crosby, Liverpool, in 1945, Archbishop Nichols studied for the priesthood at the Venerable English College in Rome from 1963 to 1970, gaining licences in philosophy and theology at the Gregorian University.

He was ordained as a priest in Rome in 1969 before taking a MA degree in theology at Manchester University.

In 1984 he was appointed general secretary of the Bishops' Conference in England & Wales and was named Archbishop of Birmingham in 2000 before returning to Westminster in 2009 as Archbishop, the same year he was unanimously elected President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, head of the Church of England, welcomed the news.

He said: " I am absolutely delighted by this well-deserved appointment. Archbishop Nichols has demonstrated clear leadership, personal holiness and immense generosity.

"This strengthens the church in this country."

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu said: "This is wonderful news both for Archbishop Vincent personally and for the Roman Catholic Church in England & Wales.

"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!"


From Belfast Telegraph