The Requiem Mass for northern Ireland's Cardinal Cahal Daly takes place today (5 January 2010) at 12.00 noon, followed by his burial in the grounds of St Patrick's Cathedral. The Cardinal, who led the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland during the sectarian violence that racked the island, and who has died aged 92, has been praised as a champion of peace and justice.
"Our country has lost one of its brightest lights and most able sons, who played a vital role in promoting reconciliation, peace and justice at a critical moment in our history," said Archbishop Sean Brady of Armagh, Daly's successor as head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, in a 1 January statement.
Thousands paid their last respects to the former Primate of All Ireland, as his body was taken from St Peter's Cathedral in Belfast to St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, on Monday 4 January.
In a telegram addressed to Cardinal Sean Baptist Brady, current archbishop of Armagh, Pope Benedict XVI praised "Cardinal Daly's long years of devoted pastoral service to the Church as priest, bishop and primate of All Ireland, his assistance as a member of the College of Cardinals, and especially his sustained efforts in the promotion of justice and peace in Northern Ireland".
Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols also paid tribute: "Catholics in England Wales will today be mourning the death of Cardinal Cahal Daly. He is warmly remembered as an outstanding leader, a most kind and courteous person, a fine scholar and a man who appreciated all that is best in Irish culture. Most of all he worked tirelessly for peace in Ireland especially in the darkest years of the violence.
Daly stood strongly for justice and the human rights of the minority community in the north of Ireland, but he remained implacably opposed to the IRA and to the use of violence as a tool for resolving political disputes.
Traditional in his Catholic convictions, the cardinal was enlivened by an enquiring and penetrating intellect and a keen pastoral sense. He was also a committed ecumenist, and representatives of Protestant, other faith and civic and secular bodies have joined the tributes, both in Ireland and internationally.