The cardinal was speaking at a Mass yesterday in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, to welcome the relics of a 19th century French saint, renowned for his zeal in hearing confessions.
Although the cardinal is not yet back at his desk, his spokesman told the Irish Independent last night he wanted to celebrate the Mass at which the relics of St John Vianney were displayed for veneration.
Better known as the Curé of Ars, St John Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests. Last month the Pope called for a revitalisation of the priesthood in Ireland through the intercession of the Curé of Ars.
In his homily Cardinal Brady personally endorsed the Pontiff's hopes of a faith revival in Ireland through the practice of confession inspired by St John Vianney.
But the cardinal recognised the "Sacrament of Reconciliation is in crisis".
He also acknowledged people were sceptical about devotion to the relics of the saints. "They think we treat them as if they were a magic wand," said Cardinal Brady.
But he insisted Catholics were devoted to relics because they reminded them "the saints got their heroic strength and ability to love not from themselves but from the merits of Christ, our one and only Saviour."SIC: II