The Church in Australia is mourning the loss of Cardinal Edward Clancy, the Archbishop of Sydney from 1983 to 2001, who died Sunday at the age of 90.

"After a long illness, Cardinal Edward Clancy has returned to his true home. We remember him as a generous, disciplined leader who loved the Church, and was at home with ordinary people," Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne commented Aug. 3.

"Always a man of honesty and directness, he is remembered by bishops, priests and people for his unstinting generosity in the service of Church and community. I, and others, will remember his great personal kindness. May he rest in peace."

Cardinal Clancy had been cared for during the last eight years of his life at the Little Sisters of the Poor's St. Joseph Home in Randwick, an eastern suburb of Sydney.

Edward Bede Clancy was born in Lithgow, New South Wales in 1923. He began his religious studies at age 16, at St. Columba's College, and then at St. Patrick's College, Manly, and was ordained a priest of the Sydney archdiocese in 1949.

In 1951 he went to Rome and graduated with a licentiate in theology from the Angelicum, and a licentiate of sacred scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute. Later, in 1965, he completed a doctorate in theology, and he taught at and served as chaplain to the University of Sydney.

In 1974 he was consecrated as an auxiliary bishop of Sydney; he was then appointed Archbishop of Canberra (and Goulburn) in 1978.

Cardinal Clancy was in 1983 appointed Archbishop of Sydney, where he continued to serve for 18 years. He was elevated to the college of cardinals in 1988, and for much of his time as Sydney's archbishop, he also served as president of the Australian bishops' conference.

Archbishop Hart described the cardinal's as having served the Sydney archdiocese "with distinction as a gifted pastor who undertook many projects, including the completion of St Mary's Cathedral."

Cardinal Clancy retired in 2001, at the age of 77.

"I remember a prayerful, dedicated, humble and hard working archbishop," said Bishop Peter Ingham of Wollongong, who had worked alongside the cardinal as a priest in the Sydney archdiocese, and was an auxiliary bishop there for the last seven years of Cardinal Clancy's leadership of the local Church.  

"A man of integrity, who was determined, even-handed, and who discharged his responsibilities conscientiously, in fact with an overwhelming sense of duty" Bishop Ingham noted. "Of course you were never in doubt who was in charge, but he always took full responsibility for his actions."

Bishop Ingham also remembered Cardinal Clancy's "refined sense of humor" and his passion for such sports as tennis, golf, and cycling.

"In the years of his tenure as archbishop, Cardinal Clancy oversaw the formation of the Australian Catholic University on which he served as Chancellor, the closure of St. Patrick's Seminary, Manly, to be re-established as the Seminary of The Good Shepherd at Homebush, and The Catholic Institute of Sydney, Strathfield."

Fr. Brian Lucas, general secretary of the Australian bishops' conference, worked with the late cardinal as secretary of the archdiocese from 1990 to 2001.

He commented, "Cardinal Clancy will be remembered not only by decisions such as the creation of the dioceses of Broken Bay and Parramatta, but for his strong leadership in the beatification and eventual canonization of Mary MacKillop."