Archbishop Vincent Nichols made a Cardinal

Archbishop Vincent Nichols was made a Cardinal by Pope Francis today. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales made headlines last week when he slammed the government's austerity measures as 'a disgrace.'

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Archbishop Vincent Nichols created a cardinal by Pope

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has been created a cardinal by Pope Francis.

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, received the symbolic red hat at a consistory ceremony in Rome.

Most Rev Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster created a cardinal by Pope Francis Credit: RTV

The Archbishop was one of 19 cardinals created during the ceremony this morning at St Peter's Basilica.

Pope Francis bestows symbolic red hat in Rome. Credit: RTV

Former-Pope Benedict makes rare appearance

Pope Benedict sat in the front row at the ceremony in the Vatican.
Pope Benedict sat in the front row at the ceremony in the Vatican.

Former Pope Benedict made a surprise entrance into St. Peter's Basilica to attend a ceremony at which his successor, Pope Francis, was elevating 19 prelates to the high rank of cardinal.

Benedict, who resigned a year ago, sat quietly wearing a long white overcoat in the front row along with other cardinals.

It was the first time he has attended a papal ceremony since his resignation, although he and Francis have met several times.

Pope appoints new cardinals from 'places of poverty'

The Archbishop of Westminster The Most Rev Vincent Nichols has said the Pope was appointing cardinals from a wide range of countries, including members of the clergy from cities with experience of "abject poverty".

Delivering the Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said:

Some are drawn from places of real poverty: Burkina 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.

Read: Who is Vincent Nichols?

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Archbishop Vincent Nichols to be made a Cardinal today

Archbishop Vincent Nichols will be made a Cardinal by Pope Francis on today.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols will be made a Cardinal by Pope Francis on Saturday. Credit: PA

Read: Archbishop Vincent Nichols: Welfare cuts 'a disgrace'

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales will join 18 others being elevated to the rank of cardinal in a consistory ceremony at the Vatican.

Sixteen of them are under 80 - meaning they will have the right to vote for the pope's eventual successor.