Pope needs courage in an increasingly divided world – Brady
CARDINAL Sean Brady has said that the next Pope will have to present the church's message "with courage and love" in a world that is "ever more anxious and divided".
Speaking during a special Mass for the election of a new Pope in Rome, Cardinal Brady, Ireland's sole representative at the conclave to elect a successor to Benedict XVI, also thanked Irish people for their prayers and support.
Referring to the closed-door meetings held by cardinals last week to look at the challenges facing the church, Cardinal Brady (73) said: "During the past week it has often been said that the church must always be close to the poor – to those who are in material need and to those who are in spiritual need."
The Mass was held in Cardinal Brady's parish church in Rome, Saints Quiricus and Julietta, which has stepped up charitable endeavours in recent months as Italy's economy falters. Up to 100 local people now rely on the parish, in Rome's historic centre, for food every day.
Cardinal Brady praised parishioners in the 14th- century church for the way "the community welcomes all who are in need".
He said: "They receive welcome and food in a world that claims to care but has left them without even the basic things of life."
On the future direction of the church, Cardinal Brady told the congregation that "the church, today more than ever, is called to be the means of unity and harmony in a world that is ever more anxious and divided".
Dr Brady is one of the select 115 cardinal-electors who will be sequestered inside Vatican City from tomorrow evening until they choose a new Pope. Cardinals have decided that they will not speak to the press in advance of the vote after concerns were raised about leaks.
Each of the cardinal-electors in the conclave will have to lay aside all contact with the outside world until a new Pope has been chosen. Cardinals will vote once tomorrow evening and then four times a day until a candidate has received two-thirds of the votes cast.