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Archbishop Nichols: Travelling in a Mercedes made me feel uneasy

Archbishop Vincent Nichols (Photo: Mazur/

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has said that travelling in a silver Mercedes to meet business leaders in London made him start questioning himself.

In a homily at a Mass with seminarians at Walsingham last weekend, he said he had asked himself if he should be following Pope Francis’s example of using older cars. “What am I doing here? What do I know about questions involving the regulation of the finance industry?” he said. “I also thought that I should be in a Ford Focus (or even a battered old Renault 4), heading off to one of the many economically deprived parts of London!”

But a phrase came to his mind, he said. “It consoled me, and also gave me a sense of identity and purpose as Canary Wharf drew near. The phrase is one often used by Pope Francis to describe our fundamental vocation, a title given to us in baptism and lived out in our own particular vocation. I am a ‘missionary disciple’. That is what I am and why I am in this car.

“This is where the Lord wants me to be. This is his initiative. So no matter how uncomfortable I feel in the silver Mercedes I am there only because he wants me there. So, this is the Lord’s business. To remember that is a great liberation.”

Archbishop Nichols also said: “Often, as a celebrant and preacher, I am quite dissatisfied. I have not spoken well. The congregation seem
restless and distracted, the servers are shuffling around behind me.

“But then a great peace can come to me. I am here, as a priest, at this and every Mass, to do one thing above all else. It is to lift Him up… I lift him up: his body, broken and given for us; his blood, poured out for us. And, for those moments, the church falls silent, all heads are raised and bowed. It happens.”

This article first appeared in print edition of The Catholic Herald dated 20/9/13