His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has today appointed the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, who has been Archbishop of Birmingham since March 2000, as the next Archbishop of Westminster. Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor as Archbishop of Westminster. The Cardinal will now become the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Westminster until Archbishop Nichols is installed at Westminster Cathedral on Thursday, 21 May 2009.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: “As the Cardinal so graciously says, it is for me something of a return. I spent 16 very happy years here in Westminster, eight of them as General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference and eight of them as an Auxiliary Bishop to Cardinal Hume in North London. I learnt a great deal from him, not least about the demands of the office of the Archbishop of Westminster and I am daunted by the task that lies ahead.”
“It’s sad departing from the Diocese of Birmingham which I have learnt to appreciate, cherish and love. I will miss the priests and the people of Birmingham very much indeed.”
“I would like to thank Cardinal Cormac, who has been an outstanding Archbishop of Westminster. He knows what it’s like to live through really hard times and he has come through them with great dignity and strength. He has been an outstanding public leader of the Catholic community in this country today and I know I speak for many when I express our steadfast admiration and thanks to him for all that he has done.”
“I feel a real need to acknowledge my openness to and dependence on God above all else. But in this I am not unique. Everyone who seeks to follow the ways of God learns to depend on the truth, love and compassion of God more than on their own strength. I know that as I prepare to take on this new office in the Church many people will pray to the Lord that I will be strengthened for this task – and that is what I definitely need.”
“We often hear of the challenges facing our country in finding cohesion in the face of great diversity. Our churches are places where people are from a wide variety of different racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. They come together, work together and contribute together to the wider good of our society. The Church in this country has a great deal to offer and I hope to do my best to contribute to that project in this new role.”