Many comments were made regarding the age of Pope Francis after his election, with some suggesting he is too old to be an effective leader. This is not a new suggestion; the age of cardinals and popes has long been a target of criticism from those outside-and even some within-the Catholic Church.

In his address to the College of Cardinals on Friday, Pope Francis seemed to address this issue, although in a non-defensive and inspiration manner, when he said to the assembled cardinals:

“Courage, dear brothers! Probably half of us are in our old age. Old age, they say, is the seat of wisdom. The old ones have the wisdom that they have earned from walking through life. Like old Simeon and Anna at the temple whose wisdom allowed them to recognize Jesus. Let us give with wisdom to the youth: like good wine that improves with age, let us give the youth the wisdom of our lives.”

Pope Francis also encouraged the cardinals to "never give in to pessimism...to discouragement" and to remember that "the Christian truth is attractive and persuasive because it responds to the deep needs of human existence, convincingly announcing that Chirst is the only Saviour of the whole person and of all persons."

Visit The Vatican Information Service to read more of the Holy Father's comments to the cardinals.