Don't give in to pessimism, Pope Francis tells cardinals
Vatican City - Pope Francis on Friday urged the cardinals of the Catholic Church not to give in to pessimism and to pass on their wisdom to younger people, explaining that, like wine, religious leaders improve with age.
The newly-elected pontiff held an audience with all the so-called Princes of Church, including those over 80, who were not allowed in the conclave that elected him two days ago.
"We should never give in to pessimism and to the bitterness that the devil offers us every day," Francis said to the cardinals.
"Dear brothers, perhaps half of us are in old age. Old age, I’dlike to say, is the seat of life wisdom ... let’s give this wisdom to the young, like wine that gets better with old age," the 76-year-old pontiff said.
He cited German Romantic poet Friedrich Hoelderlin, saying: "Old age is peaceful and pious." The Argentine-born Jorge Mario Bergoglio also spoke of the need to "bring the Gospel up to the end of the earth" and to fulfil the Church’s mandate of bringing mankind closer to Jesus Christ.
The pope looked in good spirits, smiling often and speaking off the cuff. However, he tripped slightly after standing up to greet the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano.
Before giving his blessings, Francis thanked all the cardinals, as well as the Vatican staff who prepared the conclave and the faithful who offered their prayers to him. He also paid tribute to his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.//DPA