The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, who is also known for his vocal opposition to same-sex marriage, is set to be created a Cardinal by Pope Francis next month.

According to the BBC, Archbishop Nichols will be one of 19 new Cardinals from around the world who will be appointed at the next consistory of Cardinals, which takes place at the Vatican on 22 February.

He said: “I am deeply moved by the honour conferred on the Catholic Church in England and Wales and on the Diocese of Westminster in my appointment.

“Personally this is a humbling moment.”

Previously, Archbishop Nichols sanctioned a booklet that told Catholic teachers that they could be sacked for having a same-sex marriage or civil partnership.

In January, it was claimed that Archbishop Nichols had called for a halt to special gay-friendly Catholic masses in Soho, central London. – although organisers disputed the reports.

However, in his 2012 Christmas message, Archbishop Nichols decried equal marriage plans for England and Wales as an Orwellian shambles.

He said: “George Orwell would be proud of that manoeuvre. I think the process is shambolic.”