PRIMATE of All Ireland, Sean Brady today said he would be inviting Pope Francis to Ireland and described his election as "an historic event for many reasons”.
The papacy has gone across the Atlantic to the New World for the first time," he said. "Pope Francis, a big statement in itself. First time a Jesuit".
He also said that he would be inviting the new pope to visit Ireland.
Speaking at the Irish College in Rome after the surprise election of Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, described events in the conclave as the fifth ballot was counted just before 7pm last night. "It was very moving as the votes were being counted and the names resounding out, Bergoglio, Bergoglio, and suddenly the magic number was reached and there was applause," he revealed.
It was the first conclave in which Cardinal Brady had participated, and he described it was a "fantastic, very moving day".
After Cardinal Bergoglio accepted the result of the vote, each Cardinal greeted him in turn. "I went up and said, "I bring you the love and the love and the prayers and the affection of the Irish people, there have been historic links between Ireland and Argentina, and he said 'I want to ask for your continued prayers and I send you my blessing'".
He said that he was initially "surprised when the 76-year old prelate from Buenos Aires emerged as a favourite. "Really I was, but then not surprised when I reflected up in it, because after the days of discussion, it emerged in conclave that this was what the Holy Spirit was directing us towards. I wasn't even sure that we'd have a conclusion yesterday, but we did".
Asked if the new pope will tackle the problem of cleaning up the Curia which has been riven by scandals such as the Wikileaks controversy, he said, "We certainly heard a lot about the Curia last week. He'll have to speak for himself, but certainly a man who has lived in a country which has had its ups and downs politically and economically over the last twenty years, I would be confident that he will".