Catholic News Service photo
Australian Cardinal Edward Bede Clancy
Catholic News Service photo
Australian Cardinal Edward Bede Clancy
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis offered his condolences to the people of the Archdiocese of Sydney after Australian Cardinal Edward Bede Clancy, the former archbishop, died Aug. 3 at the age of 90.

The pope expressed "gratitude for his years of episcopal ministry and his wise pastoral leadership of the Archdiocese of Sydney as seen in his concern for the needs of the poor, his support for Catholic education and his broad ecumenical and civic vision."

The pope's message, released at the Vatican Aug. 4, was sent to Msgr. Peter Comensoli, apostolic administrator of the archdiocese.

A Scripture scholar, Cardinal Clancy led the Sydney archdiocese for 18 years, retiring in 2001 at 77.

Born Dec. 13, 1923, in Lithgow, he entered the College of St. Columba in Springwood at the age of 16 to begin his preparations for the priesthood. Ordained in 1949, he was sent to Rome in 1952 for further studies, earning a degree in theology from the Pontifical Urban University and a degree in sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute.

Returning to Australia in 1955, he was assigned to parish ministry for three years before being appointed a professor of Scripture at the College of St. Columba. After earning a doctorate in theology, he began teaching Scripture at St. Patrick's College in Manly.

In 1973, Pope Paul VI named him auxiliary bishop of Sydney, and five  years later Pope John Paul II named him archbishop of Canberra and  Goulburn. In 1983, he became archbishop of Sydney and Pope John Paul made him a cardinal in 1988.

Cardinal Clancy's death leaves the College of Cardinals with 211 members, 118 of whom are younger than 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.