Archbishop Nichols will succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, who has been Archbishop of Westminster since March 2000, becoming the 11th Archbishop of Westminster since the Restoration of the Hierarchy in 1850, when the diocesan structure was re-established.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said: “I would like to welcome Archbishop Vincent back to the diocese, 17 years after he was ordained as an auxiliary Bishop in Westminster Cathedral by Cardinal Basil Hume. He has many friends and colleagues among the Bishops, priests, religious and lay people of the Diocese.“
“It will be a profound joy for me to celebrate Holy Week, Easter, and especially the Chrism Mass with the priests of the Diocese next week, content in the knowledge the Diocese is soon to be in the care of a hugely experienced and compassionate pastor.”
“Archbishop Vincent and I have shared much over many years and have been privileged to be members of a most united and harmonious Bishops’ Conference: sharing with all the Bishops in a steadfast loyalty to the Holy Father and a deeply held desire to promote the common good.”
“I have been blessed greatly in my ministry here and now above all I pray for God’s blessings on Vincent Nichols, the next Archbishop of Westminster.”
As Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor remains an active member of the College of Cardinals and retains the right to vote in a conclave until he reached the age of 80. He also remains eligible to be a member of Congregations, Councils and Commissions in the Roman Curia until he is 80.
In common with other Episcopal Sees throughout the world where the incumbent has usually been nominated by the Pope to join the College of Cardinals, it would not be expected that the Archbishop of Westminster be appointed as a Cardinal until after Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor has become 80.
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