Archbishop of Westminster

Cardinal Gives Thought for the Day on morning of Consistory

On the morning he was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis, Cardinal Vincent delivered the Thought for the Day on the Today programme on Radio 4. The transcript is below:

Later this morning Pope Francis will create 19 Cardinals. I am one of them. It feels like it will be a remarkable moment indeed!

The collective for cardinals is, of course, a College. So I'm about to become a member of the College of Cardinals, called to assist Pope Francis in his ministry to the world-wide Catholic Church.

Today's new cardinals come from 15 different countries, only four of which are European. Pope Francis is broadening the perspectives of those who advise him. Indeed he says that the key experience of being a Cardinal is that of having broader horizons and a larger heart, qualities needed in a care for all the churches.

But there are other aspects worthy of note in the choice of 19 that Pope Francis has made. Some are drawn from places of real poverty: Burkino Faso, Haiti and the Philippines. The voice of those who live among and care for the poor is a voice Pope Francis wants to hear in his counsels.

He also wants around him those whose role is to lead communities of Catholic faith in the mega cities of our world: Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Seoul and, in my case, London. These are among the great trading posts of the modern world, places where cultures, beliefs and values mingle and clash, where enterprise flourishes, where great riches and abject poverty are side by side, where corruption and virtue vie for influence and space. Just as St Paul went to Corinth, Alexandria and Rome, so too the message of the Gospel has to reach and permeate these great new centres of human achievement and striving.

When I first heard the news of this appointment, I was filled with trepidation. But since then I have been so heartened by the encouragement and support I have been offered. The Chief Rabbi told me that it was good for the voice of faith in our society, an encouragement for all who sought to live their lives before God. I hope I will not disappoint him.

So today, for the first time, I wear the scarlet robes of a Cardinal. It's the colour also seen in the bright plumage of the male cardinal bird, noted for his extraordinary range of songs and melodies. But the bright red stands for something else. Those who wear these robes are proclaiming their readiness to be faithful to Jesus Christ, even to the shedding of their blood. Today, then, has its more sombre side. Yet it remains a moment of great joy. And enjoy it to the full, I will!

+Vincent Nichols, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

To listen to the audio, click HERE

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