New Archbp. of Westminster: Archbp. Vincent Nichols

His Excellency Most Reverend… er um… His Grace Vincent Nichols will be translated from Birmingham to the Archdiocese of Westminster.

The formal announcement was made Friday.

The Bollettino


Il Santo Padre ha accettato la rinuncia al governo pastorale dell’arcidiocesi di Westminster (Inghilterra), presentata dall’ Card. Cormac Murphy O’Connor, in conformità al can. 401 § 1 del Codice di Diritto Canonico.

Il Papa ha nominato Arcivescovo Metropolita di Westminster (Inghilterra) S.E. Mons. Vincent Nichols trasferendolo dalla Sede di Birmingham.

 S.E. Mons. Vincent Nichols

S.E. Mons. Vincent Nichols è nato a Crosby, arcidiocesi di Liverpool, l’8 novembre 1945. Dopo gli studi primari e secondari, è entrato nel Venerabile Collegio Inglese a Roma nel 1963. Ha frequentato la Pontificia Università Gregoriana e vi ha conseguito la Licenza in Teologia. Tornato in Inghilterra ha continuato gli studi presso l’Università di Manchester dove ha ottenuto il grado di "Master of Arts", con una tesi sulla teologia di San Giovanni Fisher.

E’ stato ordinato sacerdote il 21 novembre 1969. Rientrato in diocesi, è stato messo a capo di un gruppo di sacerdoti incaricati della pastorale per i poveri. A Liverpool nel 1979 è stato nominato Vice-Cancelliere dell’arcidiocesi e, nell’anno seguente, Direttore dello "Upholland Northern Institute". Nel 1983, è stato eletto Segretario Generale della Conferenza Episcopale d’Inghilterra e Galles.

Eletto Vescovo titolare di Othona e Ausiliare di Westminster il 5 novembre 1991, è stato consacrato il 24 gennaio 1992. Ha avuto la cura pastorale della zona settentrionale dell’arcidiocesi. Ha partecipato a diversi Sinodi a Roma, inclusi quelli per la Vita Consacrata, per l’Oceania, e per l’Europa. Dopo la morte del compianto Cardinale Hume, è stato eletto Amministratore dell’arcidiocesi di Westminster. Il 15 febbraio 2000 è stato promosso Arcivescovo Metropolita di Birmingham.

Mons. Nichols è Membro dello Standing Committee della Conferenza Episcopale e Presidente del Department of Catholic Education and Formation.

The Catholic Herald on this story.

The Archdiocese




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  1. Flambeaux says:

    That’s two different names I’ve now read. I trust your sources more than the other source, but I’m eager to read tomorrow’s Bolletino.

  2. Woody Jones says:

    Damian is pretty well satisfied with this, so hoepfully it is true.

  3. John Enright says:

    Damn. Sorry, Father, but I wanted Fr. Tim.

  4. Supertradmom says:

    Interesting choice. Some people consider him “conservative” and others do not. I wonder whether he knew about the infamous episode of the celebration of the birthday of Mohammed in the Catholic Chapel of Newman University College, as reported by Damian Thompson in his blog. See The Times online

  5. Simon says:

    It’s funny. I got a text half an hour ago, and then all the news flooded onto my computer. I’m very pleased, and looking forward to the formal announcement!

  6. Fr Z: “His Lordship Vincent Nichols”

    Actually it’s His Grace.

  7. Richard says:

    This is good news. What a relief. Praise God.

  8. Justin says:

    Bravo. He is the only plausible candidate, bar Bishop Longley, who I would trust with the glories of Westminster Cathedral. There’s no messing with Archbishop Nichols that’s for sure.

    And for a more realistic option – Fr Tim to Birmingham.

  9. Hugh says:

    of course, we must always trust this is the work of the Holy Spirit, but he is a disaster for any priest or layman who loves the old Mass. Yes, Damain Thompson may like him but that is not enough to recommend him. I know of several occassions when he has poured scorn on what the Holy Father is trying to do. God help the church in England and Wales.

  10. Justin says:

    Can the good Archbishop come and celebrate our Triduum liturgies with us this Holy Week??

    He offers a most holy Mass, and his preaching is outstanding. I think it’s particularly fitting that the man who has been so involved with the Newman cause, will be the Primate of England, when Newman is finally beatified.

  11. Tim Ferguson says:

    is Bishop Nichols any relation to Fr. Aidan Nichols?

  12. Apparently conservative Catholics are breathing a sigh of relief that Westminster did not go to Roche. Should they really be this excited that Nichols got the nod?

    Nichols defended the use of a Catholic university college chapel for an event marking the birthday of Mohammed.

    The same Mohammed who was responsible for the murder, rape, kidnapping and enslavement of millions of Catholics and Orthodox throughout the centuries. The same Mohammed who\’s followers openly talk of overthrowing Europe and the Vatican to this day.

    The historical ignorance of that decision is just stunning. Not to mention celebrating someone in the presence of our Lord, who both denies his divinity and spent his life murdering his followers.

    We have spent the last few days in shock over Notre Dame honoring a famous advocate for the culture of death. How much worse was Nichols decision?

    NO, this is not good news for Catholics in my opinion.

  13. Tony from Oz says:

    Golly, some of you people really need to get real. This appointment merely continues Vatican acquiescence in the self-perpetuating modernist cloning of itself by the English Episcopal Conference.

    Arch Nichols has a shocking liberal record (eg sex ed in his schools quite in contravention of Catholic teaching) albeit it masked, no doubt, by an English gentlemanly veneer. He is no friend of the TLM (although there could be worse, no doubt) and, at that liturgical conference in Oxford a few years ago he actually thumbed his nose at Trads by celebrating the opening (?) Mass using the OF in Latin. So let\’s not delude ourselves about the depressing reality of this appointment, eh!

  14. Ken Simpson says:

    Given the scarcity of suitable English candidates, there were lots of precedents, going back to 597, St Augustine, for a non English nominee.Now the die is cast we need to pray a lot for Archbishop Nichols; may the English martyrs support him and influence him to restore the Faith for which they died.

  15. Mark says:

    Radical problems need radicals solutions. Archbishop Nichols is a “conservative” choice to be sure, but when what you are conserving is the current status quo in the church…well, it just shows why “conservatism” is not a good a ideology and why we need bishops (and popes) willing to rock the boat, step on toes, shake things up, etc. At this point…why not? The current strategy isnt working. Obviously. And the young Catholics I know are fed up with it. We need someone willing to go out and there and do “crazy” things and then just say “doth it scandalize you?”

  16. Kevin Manion says:

    Regarding the comment that Archbishop Nichols “is no friend of the TLM … and at the liturgical conference in Oxford a few years ago he actually thumbed his nose at Trads by celebrating the opening Mass using the OF in Latin..”

    This puts the referred to Mass in the wrong light. At the Latin Mass Society’s opening Mass at Merton College chapel, the archbishop stressed the unity of the two forms of the single Latin Rite. And he spoke about the letter to the bishops which accompanied the Motu Propio, Summorum Pontificum.

    He did not celebrate a causal Ordinary Form, but a most formal, highly solemn, Gregorian chant accompanied, OF. Archbishop Nichols’ homily could be cited, and the theme is unity. Please examine it at the following link:

    Consequently, I believe it is unfair to categorize Arcbishop Nichols as “no friend of the TLM”. He celebrated the Latin Mass Society’s opening Mass in the Ordinary Form, but in a most extraordinary manner. And he had the full cooperation of the LMS conference leadership, etc. The point at that time, and still is, the correct interpretation of Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum and its accompanying letter to the bishops.

    So let’s be fair to the archbishop, what he actually said and did at the August, 2007 Mass referred to above.

  17. Graham says:

    It’s not His Lordship for an Archbishop in Great Britain – it’s His Grace.

  18. Nicandro says:

    Maybe he will be “his Lordship” when the Anglican and RC churches in England and Wales merger occurs?

  19. Ottaviani says:

    It’s official from the Archdiocese website:

  20. Hoka2_99 says:

    My hero, Father Tim Finigan, was the obvious choice for Westminster. He’d have frightened that liberal magic circle lot!!!! But I suppose Vincent Nichols is a “safe” choice and, who knows, he make drum up a storm. I certainly hope so!!!!! It’s about time the bishops of England and Wales were reminded that they are Catholics!

  21. Ottaviani says:

    Kevin – why would a society that is dedicated to the promoting the EF then open a conference with an OF mass? Was it too much to find a bishop who can celebrate the EF? From what I know, the benefactor who left the money for the conference, specifically stated the old rite was to be celebrated. The priests at the conference came to learn about the old rite. They should then be exposed to it, in that short amount of time, as much as possible. I don’t blame Archbishop Nichols, as he was asked on invitation to come and he did. But he surely could have taken the time to at least try and learn how to pontificate.

  22. Chris says:

    Kevin: Consequently, I believe it is unfair to categorize Arcbishop Nichols as “no friend of the TLM”. He celebrated the Latin Mass Society’s opening Mass in the Ordinary Form, but in a most extraordinary manner.

    Please. Give us all a break.

    It’s like showing up at a russian orthodox mass and saying it in ukrainian.

    That’s nothing but a slap in the face by someone with control issues. [How about dialing back the negative.]

  23. RBrown says:

    Isn’t it interesting that of all the possibilities mentioned, including one in the Vatican Diplomatic Corps, the job goes to the man who over a year ago was considered the likely candidate.

    Italian slick.

  24. Mark says:

    The fact that, though it started as a tongue-in-cheek thing, people (even outside trad circles, I saw) started to somewhat seriously think Fr Finigan might have even a tiny chance (though in the minds of the people actually deciding he probably never was even mentioned)…shows some very real progress. The fact that people might even suggest it.

    But seriously, all this talk about “plausibility” is silly. Any one the Pope chooses is plausible. He can do what he wants. I dont see why he’s so concerned with not rocking the boat. Enough with ecclesiastical “politics”. The Church is not a democracy for a reason.

  25. Maureen says:

    One would no more think that a demonstration Mass in Latin of the OF at an EF conference was a slap in the face than one would think a demonstration of faux-bordon (a chant/polyphony combination form) would be a slap in the face to a Gregorian chant workshop. Educational and interesting is what it is, not an insult.

    Especially since our own Pope Benedict XVI has advocated such influence of the EF on the OF. Indeed, it sounds like a public service to members of the EF and Latin community, a sort of heads-up about what they might see in the future and might help other parishes to do. Brick by brick, in fact.

  26. depeccatoradvitam says:

    Seems in line–supports Summorum Pontificum, stands for Catholic Education in a most secular assualt on Catholic schools, understands the media, and the heurmanetic of continuity and specifically in regards to liturgical reform. old news, but appropriate for today.

    When will all the detractors look for the good side of things. These are the most troubling issues for his new See and many others.

    Blessings for Archbishop Nichols and the work ahead of him.

  27. Kevin Manion says:

    Archbishop Nichols celebrated the opening Mass of the LMS training conference within 2 months of Pope Benedict’s Motu Priopio of July 7, 2007. The archbishop, quoting the pope, stated there are not two rites; there is but one, single Latin Rite, albeit with two forms. The Merton conference trained priests to celebrate in the EF, within a hermeneutic of continuity. It seems fitting that Archbishop Nichols, the local ordinary, celebrated the opening Mass in the OF (a solemn high Mass in Latin with Gregorian Chant, incense, etc.) while the closing Mass was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form, etc. Both these Masses were sung in Latin. Most of the priests at the conference celebrate regularly in the Ordinary Form, and it was good to see a clear unity between the two forms. I believe this benefited the priests attending the conference, and most all were edified at seeing how solemn the OF can be. However, the purpose of the conference was for training in the Extraordinary Form. Regarding benefactor’s concerns, the Extraordinary Form was taught and celebrated, and the priests were all impressed with the richness of the old Latin Mass. The objectives and expectations of the Latin Mass Training Conference were met and exceeded. So much so, that the conference organizers planned and executed, with God’s Grace, an even more complete conference the following year. To object to the celebration of a solemn Ordinary Form Latin Mass opening a training conference in the spirit of Summorum Pontificum seems to ignore the hermeneutic of continuity.

  28. RBrown says:

    Seems in line—supports Summorum Pontificum, stands for Catholic Education in a most secular assualt on Catholic schools, understands the media, and the heurmanetic of continuity and specifically in regards to liturgical reform.
    Comment by depeccatoradvitam

    I know nothing about Abp Nichols, but I do know that bishops tend to be loyal to the pope who appointed them. I also know that the prospect for a red hat increases that loyalty.

  29. Michael says:

    I can’t see Father Tim Finigan getting any significant diocese – it would be pastorally insensitive to foist an OF/EF debate onto a diocese where the vast majority of people have very different concerns and priorities.

  30. TJM says:

    Michael, that debate is long over due. After all, the Novus Ordo was foisted on me. Liturgy should be the top priority after all the Mass is the summit of our religious life. Tom

  31. Noel says:

    1. TF – no relation to Fr Aidan Nichols;

    2. Does HF celebrate public EF Mass?? Plenty of OF with some Latin and Gregorian Chant and Latin polyphony.

    3. The Lord preserve us from journalists, even on the Catholic Herald : Archbishop Nichols “is expected to be consecrated (!!) some time after Easter”. I think not.

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