Archbishop Nichols says he looks forward to working with Archbishop-elect Welby

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has welcomed the appointment of the Rt Rev Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Writing on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, he said: “I warmly welcome the news of the appointment of the current Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Justin Welby as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

“I know that Bishop Welby will bring many personal gifts and experience to his new role. As the future Primate of the Church of England, I am sure that his ministry, like that of his predecessor Archbishop Rowan Williams, will provide an important Christian witness to this country over the coming years.

“In fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ’s prayer that his followers may all be one, I hope that we will endeavour to strengthen the bonds of Christian friendship and mission already established between the Catholic Church and the Church of England. I look forward to working closely with Bishop Welby in the service of the common good and in the common witness we can give to all the people in our land.

“The archbishop-elect may be assured of the prayers and best wishes of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales and of the whole Catholic community in our country.”

Bishop Welby, 56, an Old Etonian who studied history and law at Trinity College, Cambridge, worked for 11 years in the oil industry.

He was a member of Holy Trinity Brompton, the home of the Alpha Course, when he decided to become an Anglican minister. He was ordained at the age of 36.

He has been Bishop of Durham for just over a year.

At the press conference this morning, he said he had “learned so much from the Catholic Church”, particularly on Catholic social teaching. He added that his spiritual director was a Catholic priest.

The archbishop-elect also joked that he had “a better barber and spen[t] more on razors than Rowan Williams”.