Strength of Catholicism is outside Europe - Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols has given his first press conference since being elevated to the role of cardinal by Pope Francis in a ceremony on Saturday.
Speaking at the Venerable English College in Rome yesterday, he discussed the "universality" of the Catholic Church.
"To be among 18 new cardinals from 15 different countries and only four of them Europeans, begins to make very clear where the strength of Catholicism lies," he said, before noting "how important it is that the College of Cardinals reflects that diversity".
The new cardinal said his key areas of interest were parish life, "creative engagement" with business, and "attention to the poor", and also noted that he will chair a conference in April on the UK Church's efforts to tackle human trafficking.
He went on to answer questions regarding attitudes towards the gay community, Church unity and the recent report on child abuse from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which denounced the Holy See for adopting policies that have allowed priests to commit sexual crimes and has protected perpetrators.
Perhaps his most impassioned response, however, came upon being asked to define the papacy of Pope Francis, who is enjoying unprecedented popularity both within and outside the Church.
"I would not use the word 'reform'. Actually, I would use the phrase 'radical renewal'," the cardinal answered.
"I think he is a Pope of startling, radical renewal in the Church, and it's radical because he goes right to the very heart of why the Church exists, why it has life in it, and what its mission is."
Cardinal Nichols explained that the Pope has told the new cardinals not to take their elevated status as a promotion or a privilege but rather a "call to serve [that] that requires of you or invites you in to have broader horizons and a larger heart""
"He defines the role of cardinals as missionary disciples... 'Disciples' because we're called into the company of the Lord; 'missionary' because we have a task," the Archbishop shared.
As part of his new role, Cardinal Nichols is eligible to be part of the conclave to elect the next Pope.