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Pope Remembers Cardinal Foley

U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley sits among other cardinals after receiving his red biretta from Pope Benedict XVI during a consistory in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in this 24 Nov. 2007 file photo. Cardinal Foley, a dean of the Catholic press in t he United States, died 11 Dec. in Darby, PA, after a battle with leukemia. He was 76. Cardinal Foley spent more than two decades leading the church’s social communications council and later worked for the church in the Middle East. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring) 

13 Dec 2011 – by Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI said he hoped the legacy of the late Cardinal John P. Foley would inspire others to make the Gospel known through mass media.

In a telegram to Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia Dec. 12, the pope expressed his sadness and condolences for the death of Cardinal Foley, who died Dec. 11 in Darby, Pa., after a battle with leukemia. The College of Cardinals now has 192 members, 109 of whom are under age 80 and eligible to vote.

“I recall with gratitude the late cardinal’s years of priestly ministry in his beloved Archdiocese of Philadelphia, his distinguished service to the Holy See as president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and most recently his labors on behalf of the Christian communities of the Holy Land” as grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, the pope wrote.

The pope prayed that the cardinal’s “lifelong commitment to the church’s presence in the media will inspire others to take up this apostolate so essential to the proclamation of the Gospel and the progress of the new evangelization.”

Archbishop Claudio Celli, who succeeded the U.S. cardinal as president of the communications council, said Cardinal Foley “stressed the positive potential of the media in informing, instructing and inspiring others, as a key component of the church’s mission and pastoral outreach in spreading the Gospel.”

The cardinal combined his journalistic training, professionalism, a friendly and approachable manner with his wisdom, humor and “passion to share the good news of God’s infinite love for every person,” the archbishop said.

Cardinal Foley promoted dialogue within the church about communication, culture and media, and called on professionals to seek the highest standards in their work, he said.

Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the communications council, said Cardinal Foley was deeply committed to “helping people who maybe weren’t so close to the church to understand better the church that he loved so much.”

“His great sensitivity was finding a language, and a way of speaking, a way of helping them to understand the church and to maybe overcome the little misunderstandings that could often color their attitude toward the church,” he told Catholic News Service.

Although Msgr. Tighe never worked directly with the cardinal, he said “his was one of the friendliest and most encouraging faces and presence around the Vatican.”

“The thing that always struck me was while people had enormous respect for him, they had an even greater affection,” he said.

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Tags: Middle East Christians Middle East Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Cardinal John P. Foley