The Archbishop of St Andrew's and Edinburgh, Most Rev Keith O'Brien, was declared a cardinal by the Pope at a ceremony on the steps of St Peter's in Rome this morning. Cardinal O' Brien was one of 31 new appointments to the College of Cardinals. Speaking shortly before the ceremony, Cardinal O'Brien said: "I think it is vitally important for every Scots person that Scotland is represented at the highest level in the church's deliberations..... And I think that members of other denominations and some people of no faith at all appreciate that as well. "It says something for our country, and for the church in our country, that Pope John Paul II and his advisers decided that again there should be a cardinal in Scotland." Afterwards, Cardinal O'Brien expressed his deep gratitude at the honour, which he said he was accepting on behalf of the people of Scotland. He said: "Today is for me a time of great happiness and pride... I am humbled by the outpouring of love, affection and support that has flooded over me in recent weeks. Looking back to that Spring day in 1965 when I was ordained a priest, I could never have imagined or predicted the path my vocation would take." He continued: "I offer my heartfelt thanks to all those who have supported and assisted me throughout my life and promise them they will be remembered in my prayers, now and always." News of the Pope's intention to make the archbishop a cardinal created a storm of controversy in recent weeks. At a press conference yesterday, he denied reports that he had called for the church to debate celibacy, contraception and homosexuality at a Mass in Edinburgh, just days after his appointment was announced. He then pledged his allegiance to the Pope. Cardinal O'Brien told reporters: "I would strongly object to the wrong reports that have been circulated about me round the world. "I did not say anything against the church's teachings at that Mass." Cardinal O'Brien was born in Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and ordained priest in 1965. He become Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St Andrew's and Edinburgh in 1985 and was the first member of the church in Scotland to be elevated since the death of Cardinal Thomas Winning two years ago. He has become only the third Scottish cardinal since the Reformation. Tomorrow, the Scots College in Rome will host a special reception for the hundreds of well-wishers who have travelled from Scotland.
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