Pope Francis has offered his respects and thanks during an audience with the world’s Catholic cardinals. The Argentine pope is set to be officially inaugurated on Tuesday in St. Peter's Square.
The newly-elected Pope Francis, 76, held an audience with all the worlds' Catholic cardinals Friday, including those over 80, who were not allowed in the conclave that elected him two days ago.
In his speech, he urged the Catholic Church not to give in to "pessimism" and to find new ways of spreading the faith.
He also encouraged the cardinals to share the wisdom they had gained with age. "We are elderly and old age holds the wisdom of life. Let us give this wisdom to young people like good wine that gets better over the years," he said.
Francis is due to be officially inaugurated as pope on Tuesday in Saint Peter's Square, an event that is expected to be attended by numerous world leaders.
Pope Francis also paid a heartfelt tribute to his predecessor Benedict XVI, who stepped down from the papacy in February, saying he no longer had the strength to lead the church.
Francis said Benedict's faith and teaching had "enriched and invigorated" the Catholic Church.
Francis has said he would like to visit Benedict, 85, at the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, where he has been living since he resigned on February 28.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who chose the name Francis in honor of the Italian St. Francis of Assisi, had been a runner-up to Benedict in the last election.
Francis - the first non-European pontiff in more than 1,200 years - is known for his image as a simple man of the people. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he lived in a modest apartment rather than the official residence, and took buses to work.
Francis is scheduled to give an audience to the press on Saturday and deliver his first Angelus prayers on Sunday.
hc/slk (Reuters, AFP, AP)