Pope Francis warns against a church without Christ, and pays his bills

Cardinal Brady played significant role in pre-conclave discussions.

Pilgrims pray in front of a large screen in Saint Peter's Square, as they watch a televised Mass led by newly elected Pope Francis in the Sistine Chapel yesterday. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Pilgrims pray in front of a large screen in Saint Peter's Square, as they watch a televised Mass led by newly elected Pope Francis in the Sistine Chapel yesterday. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Fri, Mar 15, 2013, 06:54

As though preparing the faithful for changes, he said: “There are sometimes shake-ups – there are movements that are not part of the path: there are movements that pull us back.” He continued: “when we profess Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly. We are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.”

Yesterday morning the pope visited the basilica of St Mary Major in Rome. He entered through a side door and prayed before the icon of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani (Protectress of the Roman People). He also visited the basilica’s Sistine Chapel where St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits of which Pope Francis is a member, celebrated his first Mass.

Afterwards the pope asked to be taken to the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI, where he stayed in the run-up to the conclave. “He then stopped in the office, greeted everyone and decided to pay the bill for the room,” Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said later.


Cardinal Brady’s conclave
Yesterday in interviews at the Irish College in Rome it became clear that Ireland’s Catholic primate Cardinal Seán Brady made significant contributions during discussions among cardinals that preceded this week’s conclave.

It is understood he spoke of the church’s failures in dealing with child abuse, the necessity for greater involvement of women in church governance, and that he emphaised that what was required in a new pope was a man who could inspire people with his practical Christianity, particularly love of the poor.

Yesterday Cardinal Brady recalled from such discussions that it was said “age, experience or geographical background, these are important [where a new pope was concerned] but not all important.”

Concerns about age
Indeed, when asked about concerns at Pope Francis being 76, Cardinal Brady responded that “when Jesus came to choose Peter he didn’t ask him to produce a birth certificate . . . he asked ‘do you love me?’” It was also at Cardinal Brady’s suggestion that, in an unprecedented gesture, all cardinals went to St Peter’s basilica to pray for guidance before the chair of Peter.

Asked about his comments in the discussions on an increased role for women in church governance, he said: “I was emphasising the need for the church to be inclusive of all and I am glad to see that was one of the things that Pope Francis had in his programme when he said that the protagonists in this renewal [of the church] must be lay people, competent lay people . . . and that priests and laity would work together. “

On being the only participant at the conclave from English-speaking Europe, he said it was “ a great honour, great responsibility, a great joy really”.