Friday, April 03, 2009

Archbishop Vincent Nichols

In a leader The Times helpfully welcomes the appointment of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Birmingham as the next head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales in place of the retiring Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.

"[T]he Pope has chosen a man who is eloquent and widely respected. But he has also picked a man who, his many admirers hope, will not shrink from the challenge of asserting Catholicism’s place in national public life...

And all the signs are that Archbishop Nichols will not be shy about making his Church’s case passionately on such issues as abortion, contraception, faith schools and Catholic adoption agencies.

Yet those Catholics will welcome the arrival next month of a new Archbishop of Westminster, the 11th since the restoration of the hierarchy, who will stake his claim to speak unashamedly for Christian values.

At a time when matters of faith are shaping the world in dramatic ways there are encouraging grounds to believe that Archbishop Nichols will act as a theologically unifying figure in the Catholic Church — conservative but not reactionary — offering a fluent voice in the national debate on those issues where the Catholic Church occasionally feels itself caught in the hinge of secular society."