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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.

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.


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

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.

Vatican to give 'thorough study' to scathing UN report

The Vatican, led by Pope Francis, has said it remains committed to defending and protecting the rights of children. Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

The Vatican has said it will give "thorough study and examination" to a UN report that has accused the Catholic Church of failing to act on, and even covering up, child sex abuse.

The Holy See made no comment on its suggested culpability but said the Church remained committed to protecting children from abuse.

However, it accused the UN committee responsible for the report of interfering with its teachings on abortion and contraception after the report recommended a change in the approach to sexual education in Catholic schools.

UN seeks compensation for Magdalene scandal victims

The UN committee on the Rights of the Child has said the Catholic Church has not yet taken measures to prevent a repeat of cases of forced labour such as Ireland's Magdalene laundries scandal.

A man walks past a memorial at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin to those who worked in the Magdalene Laundries. Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

A separate official report, published in February last year, found the Irish state was responsible for sending many women and girls to the now-notorious laundries, where they were subjected to a harsh regime of intimidation, prayer and unpaid work.

Today's UN report has called for the Vatican to begin an internal investigation of the laundries and similar institutions to lead to appropriate prosecutions. It has demanded that "full compensation be paid to the victims and their families" upon its completion.

The Vatican is expected to issue a statement on the damning UN report later today.

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