Archbishop Vincent Nichols to become cardinal in Rome ceremony

Friday 21st February 2014

vincent nichols 2014Archbishop Nichols is one of 19 new cardinals being created by Pope Francis

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales is to become a cardinal at a ceremony in Rome


Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, is to be created a cardinal by Pope Francis


Cardinals, who wear red hats and robes, are the most senior clergymen in the Roman Catholic Church below the pope

vincentnichols 2014Archbishop Nichols is one of 19 new cardinals being appointed and, because he is under 80, will be eligible to elect the pope's successor

During Saturday's ceremony at St Peter's Basilica, known as a consistory, the 68-year-old will kneel before the pope and have a scarlet biretta placed on his head and will receive a ring

The reason the biretta is red is to symbolise each wearer's willingness to give their lives for the Catholic faith

Each bishop being appointed will promise fidelity to the death to the pope

Following the ceremony, there are typically various receptions held in the Vatican. They are often held on the first floor of the Apostolic Palace, but they have also been held in the Audience Hall and Vatican Museum

The pope and the 19 new cardinals - who hail from 15 different countries, including the likes of South Korea, the Ivory Coast and Burkino Faso - celebrate Mass in St Peter's Basilica the next day

Archbishop Nichols is the 11th Archbishop of Westminster to receive the honour of becoming a cardinal

The archbishop, who was born in Liverpool, has been recently critical of the government's benefit changes

Earlier this month, he called the coalition's welfare reforms a "disgrace" that had left vulnerable people facing "hunger and destitution"

On the day it was announced he would become a cardinal, Archbishop Nichols said it was a "humbling moment"

He said it would enable him to "on behalf of all, to serve the pope in a direct and prolonged way"