John Foley dies at 76; cardinal explained Catholic teachings
Feb 18, 2012
Cardinal John P. Foley was the Vatican's longtime spokesman on Roman Catholic social teachings and later led a knighthood that supports Holy Land sites. He died Dec. 11 at age 76.
Cardinal John P. Foley, a priest who rose from working-class roots in Philadelphia to become the Vatican's longtime spokesman on Roman Catholic social teachings, has died. He was 76.
Foley was perhaps best known to American audiences as host for 25 years of NBC's annual broadcast of the pope's Christmas Mass at St. Peter's Basilica. He died Dec. 11 of leukemia at a home for retired priests in Darby, Pa., the town where he was born.
Citing fatigue and declining health, he returned to Philadelphia in February after four years as Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a knighthood based in Rome.
For the previous 23 years, he had served as first president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, with particular responsibility for explaining church teachings to the media.
When he stepped down from the council in 2007, the year he was made cardinal, he was the longest-serving head of any major office in the Vatican.
Papal biographer David Gibson, a former reporter for Vatican Radio, described Foley as "never an insider, never a 'player'" at Vatican politics "because he didn't want to be." Instead, he said, Foley earned a reputation as a "man of such rectitude, who did his job every day."
The council presidency "was never a career," Foley said during a 2007 interview in Rome. "It was always a vocation, responding to what God calls you to do."
The only child of parents who never finished high school, Foley was born Nov. 11, 1935, in Darby and grew up in Sharon Hill, Pa. In 1957, he received a bachelor's degree in history from what is now St. Joseph's University before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. He was ordained in 1962.
While in Rome for advanced studies, he reported on the proceedings of the Second Vatican Council for Philadelphia's archdiocesan newspaper and continued to write for it on his return. Foley became editor of the newspaper in 1968. He later earned a master's degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
In 1984, Pope John Paul II made Foley an archbishop and head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
Foley's mission was to promote moral values in TV, radio, advertising, and film, and to explain church teachings on a broad array of social issues. He came under intense criticism his first year, however, after he described AIDS as a "natural sanction for certain types of activities."
The pope later issued a statement reassuring homosexuals that the church loves them, and Foley never provoked such controversy again. Later, he would joke that he turned on CNN every morning "so I know what to pray about."
In 2007 Pope Benedict elevated Foley to cardinal and appointed him to head the knights of the Holy Sepulchre. The order, which raises money for Catholic sites in the Holy Land, traces its roots to the Crusades and has been headed by a cardinal since its revival in the 19th century.
A un mes de fallecido, Mons. Celli recuerda a Cardenal Foley como "hombre de la comunicación"
Jan 25, 2012
ROMA, 11 Ene. 12 / 04:58 pm (ACI/EWTN Noticias).- El Presidente del Pontificio Consejo para las Comunicaciones Sociales, Arzobispo Claudio Maria Celli, recordó el rico legado de su predecesor, el Cardenal estadounidense John Patrick Foley, a quien calificó de "hombre de la comunicación" en la homilía de la Misa que presidió a un mes de su tránsito ocurrido el 11 de diciembre.
En la Misa que celebró en Roma en la iglesia de Santa María in Traspontina, el Prelado señaló que la presencia del Cardenal Foley significó una "síntesis de los más de 20 años de permanencia del desaparecido Purpurado a la cabeza del Pontificio Consejo para las Comunicaciones Sociales".
El Cardenal Foley "era un hombre fe, el evangelizador y el comunicador. En él era posible no solo descubrir, sino ver el rostro de una Iglesia capaz de hablar al mundo con cordialidad y dialogar con la máxima apertura, sin nunca imponer la verdad o las propias razones", dijo el Arzobispo Celli.
Según señala la nota del diario vaticano L’Osservatore Romano, el Prelado afirmó que "desde el Pontificio Consejo de Foley surgieron las primeras reflexiones doctrinales y culturales sobre el rol de Internet, así como de la incidencia de la publicidad como elemento de comunicación".
Mons. Celli recordó asimismo que el Cardenal Foley fue uno de los impulsores de la redacción de "importantes documentos sobre el peligroso asalto, desde sus inicios, de la pornografía en Internet". Por todo lo dicho, concluyó el Arzobispo, el Purpurado fue "un hombre de Dios convertido en un hombre de la comunicación".
El Cardenal John Patrick Foley nació el 11 de noviembre de 1935. Fue ordenado sacerdote el 19 de mayo de 1962. En 1966 obtuvo la maestría suma cum laude en la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad de Columbia, una de las más prestigiosas del mundo.
Como sacerdote, cubrió el Concilio Vaticano II como editor asistente de The Catholic Standard and Times. Fue además coordinador de la prensa de habla inglesa para la visita del Papa Juan Pablo II a Irlanda y Estados Unidos en 1979; y para el Sínodo Mundial de los Obispos realizado en el Vaticano in 1980. Fue presidente del Centro Televisivo Vaticano durante algunos años desde 1984.
El Cardenal Foley también fue muy querido por los católicos hispanos porque durante su gestión al mando del Pontificio Consejo para las Comunicaciones Sociales, fue uno de los gestores, desde 1987, de la creación de la Red Informática de la Iglesia en América Latina (RIIAL).
Fue designado Presidente de la entonces Pontificia Comisión de Comunicaciones Sociales el 5 de abril de 1984, recibiendo la ordenación episcopal el 8 de mayo de ese mismo año. Siguió al mando de la Comisión cuando se convirtió en Pontificio Consejo desde 1988 hasta el año 2007.
Recibió una gran cantidad de premios de instituciones católicas y seculares por su destacada labor. El Papa Benedicto XVI lo creó Cardenal en el Consistorio del 24 de noviembre de 2007.
Cardinal honored by St. Charles Seminary
Jan 06, 2012
Cardinal John P. Foley, who was born in Darby and grew up in Sharon Hill, has been honored for his accomplishments as a professional communicator with a chair at one of his alma maters, St. Charles Seminary in Wynnewood, Montgomery County.
The John Cardinal Foley Chair of Homiletics and Social Communication will serve to train seminarians in the art of rhetoric in public preaching and to cultivate a practical knowledge and mastery of modern communication media, according to seminary officials.
The only child of the now-late John Edward and Regina Vogt Foley, the cardinal delivered the Chester Times, forerunner to the Delaware County Daily Times, when he was a student at the old Holy Spirit Grade School in Sharon Hill.
In February Foley resigned his Vatican post as pro-grand master of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and moved to Villa St. Joseph in Darby, where he has been contending with leukemia, anemia and other health conditions. The former editor of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Catholic Standard & Times, Foley served as Pope John Paul II’s chief spokesman from 1984 until the pontiff’s death in 2005. For 21 years, he was the voice of the Vatican, providing English commentary heard by millions of Roman Catholics worldwide for Christmas and Easter masses.
When he turned 76 on 11-11-11, Foley noted that he was grateful to God for a wonderful life.
“As Andy Rooney said, ‘I certainly have nothing to complain about.’ It’s been marvelous and I pray that I may have the strength needed for the rest of my time here on Earth to try to continue to do some good for others,” said the cardinal.
Contributions to the John Cardinal Foley Chair of Homiletics and Social Communications may be made by contacting 610-785-6231 or email@example.com.
Cardinal Foley remembered all over the world
Jan 06, 2012
Whether it was the Chester Times as a youth, a perfectly timed one-liner to a friend, or the Christmas message from the Vatican to millions, Cardinal John Patrick Foley knew the value of a good delivery.
Foley, a Delaware County native who rose to become one of the princes of the Roman Catholic Church, died at 3:15 a.m. Sunday at Villa St. Joseph in Darby, a residence for retired Archdiocesan priests. He was 76.
Foley left this life about 100 yards from the where he was delivered into it: He was born at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital on Nov. 11, 1935, which sits next to Villa St. Joseph.
He had been suffering from leukemia, anemia and other conditions.
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal John Foley,” said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in a statement issued from Rome. “Cardinal Foley was a man of great apostolic energy. Anyone who met him was immediately aware of his intense love for the church and his zeal for communicating the Gospel. By the sheer force of his personality, he drew people to the faith and to himself. I was pleased that he was able to come home during the final months of his life. No matter where he lived or how he served the church over the years, he always considered Philadelphia his home.”
And more specifically, Foley considered the Holy Spirit Parish in Sharon Hill home.
“Twice after he made cardinal, he came back for a special Mass,” said the Rev. Martin Woodeshick, the pastor at Holy Spirit. “He would refer to me as his pastor. He would say, ‘Oh, there is my pastor.’ He always considered this his parish.”
Foley was the only child of the late John Edward and Regina Vogt Foley and was a 1949 graduate of Holy Spirit Grade School, which closed in 2003, in Sharon Hill. He had resigned his Vatican post in February as pro grand master of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, overseeing churches in the Holy Land, and moved to Villa St. Joseph.
Foley served as Pope John Paul II’s chief spokesman from 1984 until the pontiff’s death in 2005. While being fluent in Italian, French, Spanish, he also had been the voice of the Vatican, providing English commentary heard by millions of Roman Catholics worldwide for Christmas and Easter Masses up until 2009. He had served in his last position for Pope Benedict XVI until Feb. 10.
While Foley rose from being a Chester Times delivery boy to become a key person in the Vatican, it was probably not something he sought, but likely felt compelled to do when asked.
“I don’t know if that was necessarily his goal in life,” the Rev. Woodeshick said. “But when it came his way he accepted it. He was ready to do whatever God had in mind for him.”
By all accounts, Foley was not a seeker of attention, but one who wanted to give attention to others. One way he accomplished that was being the editor-in-chief of The Catholic Standard & Times from 1970 to 1984.
The Rev. Msgr. George A. Majoros, who has been at Our Lady of Fatima in Secane since 2008, knew Foley as a teacher and a fellow priest. He was a student at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary where Foley taught philosophy from 1967 to 1984.
“He was truly an astute and learned man,” Majoros said. “He wanted to impart that knowledge to his students with great diligence. Later, he was a great help to parish priests by making sure the print media he worked on was usable and workable for priests and readable for the average Catholic in the pew.”
But it was apparent to many that Foley didn’t do his work to try and be average. And that was especially true when priests from the Philadelphia archdiocese visited Rome while he was working there.
“In 2004, we were together for the 25th anniversary of me being a priest,” Majoros said of a trip to Vatican City. “He arranged for a Mass at the altar of the Clementine Chapel for us. It was a special privilege to have Mass at that altar because the remains of St. Peter, the first pope, are on the other side of it. (Foley) always felt the connection with us. He always felt he was a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”
He also had the gift of making people feel at ease. Two Philadelphia area men who spent a lot of time with Foley over the years were Msgr. Hans Brouwer, who was Foley’s secretary in Rome and is now at the St. Katharine of Siena Rectory in Wayne, and Bob Sims, of Wayne, who had been friends with the cardinal since their high school days at St. Joseph’s Prep.
They noticed that as time passed and many things in the world changed, Foley’s attitudes toward others did not.
“He loved to be with people,” Sims said. “I have a picture of him on the floor with babies and I have one of him in a Cadillac convertible with sunglasses on. He could adapt to any place with anyone.”
Foley’s enjoyment of people was evident even in his final days.
“Friday afternoon, I was sitting with him and two guests came in to see him,” Brouwer said. “He just loved to be with people.”
And that also showed in his sensitivity to their needs. Sims told a story of Foley being on a flight and sitting next to a man who was contemplating suicide. The man’s wife was a flight attendant on that plane, so Foley counseled them in a small private room.
“When you use the expression 24/7, that was him,” Brouwer said. “Twenty-four hours, seven days a week he worked.”
But he also spent time laughing, sometimes at himself, and making others laugh.
“He was extremely gregarious,” Sims said. “He was great with people.”
And that was apparently true in his final months at Villa St. Joseph.
“He had a wonderful sense of humor,” said the Rev. Msgr. William Dombrow, the rector at Villa St. Joseph. “He shared many of the stories with the priests here of the experiences he had in life.”
In the final few weeks, those who were around him said Foley understood his life was coming to a close, and that was especially true last week.
“I sat with him last Thursday and he knew he was dying,” Sims said. “We talked about everything.”
Foley talked to the Daily Times on the occasion of what turned out to be his final birthday – on 11/11/11.
“As Andy Rooney said, ‘I certainly have nothing to complain about,’” he said. “It’s been marvelous and I pray that I may have the strength needed for the rest of my time here on Earth to try to continue to do some good for others.”
Foley’s last official good act came Wednesday, when he blessed the chapel on the fourth floor across from his room at Villa St. Joseph.
“We had our fourth-floor chapel restored,” Dombrow said. “He told me that was going to be the final function he performed. He was very much in tune with that and God’s will for him. He was very grateful I had asked him to rebless that chapel.”
Dombrow said Foley was also glad to spend his final days in Delaware County.
“He was very happy here at the Villa,” Dombrow said. “He was very much loved by the residents and staff. He was a very humble man.”
Dombrow was one of those with Foley when he died.
“He had a beautiful attitude,” he said. “He was ready to meet the Lord. He told me that.”
While funeral arrangements were still pending late Sunday afternoon, Brouwers and Sims said the service will be a true celebration.
“It’s a great life to celebrate,” Sims said. “All of us that have known him will be celebrating his life. There will be a lot of people there.”
Cardinal John P. Foley, host of Christmas Mass, dies at 76
Dec 12, 2011
Cardinal John P. Foley, a jovial, popular priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who rose from working-class roots to become a "prince of the church" and the Vatican's longtime spokesman on Catholic social teachings, died Sunday. He was 76.
Foley was perhaps best known to American audiences as host for 25 years of NBC's annual broadcast of the pope's Christmas Mass at St. Peter's Basilica.
Once described as "the nicest guy in the Vatican" by the National Catholic Reporter, Foley had leukemia. He died at Villa St. Joseph, the archdiocesan home for retired priests in Darby, Pa., the town where he was born.
Citing fatigue and declining health, he returned to the archdiocese in February after four years as Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a papal knighthood based in Rome.
For the previous 23 years, he had served as first president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, with particular responsibility for explaining church teachings to electronic news media.
When he stepped down from the council in 2007, the year he was made cardinal, he was the longest-serving head of any major office in the Vatican.
"I was pleased he was able to come home during the final months of his life," Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said Sunday from Rome. "No matter where he lived or how he served the Church over the years, he always considered Philadelphia his home.
"His charisma and gentle spirit will be sorely missed," Chaput said. "By the sheer force of his personality he drew people to the faith and to himself."
Papal biographer David Gibson, a former reporter for Vatican Radio, described Foley as "never an insider, never a 'player'" at Vatican politics, "because he didn't want to be." Instead, he said, Foley earned a reputation as a "man of such rectitude, who did his job every day."
The council presidency "was never a career," Foley said during a 2007 interview in Rome. "It was always a vocation, responding to what God calls you to do."
While in Rome he lived in a plain, two-room apartment at the Villa Stritch, a residence for American clergy, where he answered his own phone.
Thomas H. Massaro, a former Philadelphia housing director, recalled in 2007 that Foley was so popular that it took him an hour just to cross St. Peter's Square because so many people would stop to greet him.
Foley's fondness for Italian cuisine expanded his waistline, however, and became a target of his self-deprecating humor. "My mother once told me," he would often say, 'John, there's 20 pounds of you that were never ordained.'"
The only child of parents who never finished high school, Foley was born Nov. 11, 1935, grew up in Sharon Hill, Pa., graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School in 1953, and earned a bachelor of arts summa cum laude from St. Joseph's College (now University) in 1957 before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood. He was ordained in 1962.
He soon caught the eye of Archbishop John Krol, who sent him to Rome for advanced studies. While there, he reported on the proceedings of the Second Vatican Council for the archdiocesan newspaper, and continued to write for it on his return.
In 1968, Krol, then a cardinal, made him editor of the Catholic Standard and Times. At Krol's encouragement, Foley later earned a master's degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he was elected class president.
While very different in temperament, the two men got along well. During a 1975 trip to Egypt, Krol asked Foley whether he should take a camel ride.
"If I were you, eminence, I would not," Foley replied.
When Krol, wearing an Arabic head scarf, ignored the advice and got on the camel, Foley snapped his picture. Krol was teased after it appeared in newspapers, and demanded to know why Foley had taken the photo "when you told me not to do it."
"As your priest, I gave you my best advice," Foley replied. "As a journalist, I took your picture."
Krol understood, and in 1984 recommended the 49-year-old monsignor to Pope John Paul II as head of the newly formed Pontifical Council for Social Communications. John Paul took the advice, and made the monsignor an archbishop.
Foley's mission was to promote moral values in TV, radio, advertising, and film, and to explain church teachings on a broad array of social issues. He came under intense criticism his first year, however, after he described AIDS as a "natural sanction for certain types of activities."
The pope later issued a statement reassuring homosexuals that the church loved them, and Foley never provoked such controversy again. Later, he would joke that he turned on CNN every morning "so I know what to pray about."
He visited Philadelphia often during his long tenure in Rome, and there was frequent speculation that he might be made archbishop here, but it was not to be.
As the years passed, his friends used to tease him so much about being bypassed for a cardinal's post that he confided he was afraid to arrange papal audiences for them.
"I'm afraid they're going to blurt out 'When are you going to give him a red hat?'" he said. That day came in November 2007, after months of rumors, when Pope Benedict appointed him to head the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.
The order, which raises money for Catholic sites in the Holy Land, traces its roots to the Crusades and has been headed by a cardinal since its revival in the 19th century. The Sharon Hill altar boy known to schoolmates as "Jack" now commanded the Palazzo della Rovere, the order's palatial, 15th century villa two blocks from St. Peter's.
It was Foley's elevation to cardinal that prompted John Allen, longtime Vatican columnist for the National Catholic reporter, to remark in 2007 that during his 23 years at Social Communications he had "earned a reputation as the nicest guy in the Vatican."
Although Allen faulted Foley for doing little to address the Vatican's deep distrust of the news media, he said he did much to improve the Vatican's image around the world.
"There have been tense days, of course," Foley told a reporter that year, but he'd "never had an unhappy day as a priest," he said, adding: "I can't think of anything else I'd rather have been."
Usa: il cardinale Foley insignito di un premio alla carriera. Assegnato il “Frannie Award 2011”
Jul 10, 2011
Il cardinale John Patrick Foley, già presidente del Pontificio Consiglio delle Comunicazioni Sociali ed ex direttore del “Catholic Standard & Times” di Philadelphia è stato insignito di un Premio alla carriera da parte della Catholic Academy of Communication Arts Professionals. Il Gabriel Award – riferisce l’agenzia Cns - è stato consegnato sabato scorso a Pittsburgh, giornata conclusiva della Convention annuale dei media cattolici che ha riunito la stessa Accademia, l’Associazione della Stampa Cattolica degli Stati Uniti (Cpa) e l’Associazione dei Comunicatori cattolici del Canada. Alla cerimonia di consegna del premio, il presidente della Catholic Academy of Communication Arts Professionals, Franck Morock, ha sottolineato lo straordinario impegno profuso in tanti anni di carriera dal cardinale Foley nel campo della comunicazione. Una carriera - come ha ricordato lo stesso porporato - iniziata da giovanissimo, quando era ancora seminarista. 76 anni il prossimo novembre, il card. Foley ha annunciato nei mesi scorsi il suo ritiro da ogni incarico, perché malato di leucemia ed è attualmente ospitato in una casa di riposo a Philadelphia. Durante la Convention la Cpa, che celebra quest’anno i suoi 100 anni di vita, ha assegnato anche il cosiddetto Frannie Award 2011, il Premio San Francesco di Sales per i migliori contributi dell’anno al giornalismo cattolico. Il vincitore di questa edizione è Bob Zyskowsky, editore associato e amministratore del “Catholic Spirit”, quotidiano dell’arcidiocesi di St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Cardinal Foley to aid in beatification of John Paul II
May 10, 2011
For 21 years, Cardinal John P. Foley was the voice of the Vatican, providing English commentary heard by millions of Roman Catholics worldwide, for Christmas and Easter masses celebrated by Pope John Paul II.
Sunday, the Delaware County native’s mellifluous tones are expected to once again be heard as he provides commentary over local airwaves for the ceremony that will bring his former boss one step closer to sainthood.
“I’m delighted, of course, at the beatification of Pope John Paul II, who was my boss from 1984 until 2005 — that’s 21 years — at the Vatican and was also a friend and, of course, an outstanding example,” said Foley.
Born in Darby and raised in Sharon Hill, the 75-year-old cardinal returned to his roots in February after resigning his latest post in Rome as pro-grand master of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, an international organization whose members pledge to develop their spiritual lives and support Christianity in the Holy Land.
“I have leukemia, anemia and a number of other conditions and I was too weak to perform my duties,” he told the Daily Times in February.
Now a resident of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s retirement home for priests, Villa St. Joseph in Darby, Foley has scaled back his once-vigorous schedule. He ventures out mostly for medical appointments and special events such as Monday’s Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter & Paul to celebrate Philadelphia Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali’s 50th anniversary as a priest.
Despite his fragile health, Foley has agreed to rise before dawn Sunday and travel to the studios of Philadelphia’s CBS affiliate, KYW-TV3 on Spring Garden Street, to provide commentary for the late Pope John Paul II’s beatification festivities from 4 a.m. until about 6:30 a.m. — 10 a.m. until about 12:30 p.m. Rome time.
He will be joined by KYW-TV3 personality Pat Ciarrocchi and KYW news radio anchor Harry Donahue — who was formerly one of Foley’s students at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Montgomery County — for the simultaneous broadcast of the beatification Mass.
“This one is a local use of international television station signals,” said Foley.
His insight into the future saint extends beyond his years with him in Rome. Foley knew the former Cardinal Karol Wojtyla for about a decade before he became the first Polish pope in 1978. In 1979, Foley was English press liaison to Pope John Paul II during his seven-day, six-city tour that included a stop in Philadelphia.
Cardinal John Foley returns to Philadelphia for retirement
Apr 02, 2011
Cardinal John Foley, a priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia who spent nearly 37 years at the Vatican, has retired six months after being diagnosed with leukemia and has returned to Philadelphia.
On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI formally accepted Foley's resignation as grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a position he had held since 2007, the year Benedict made him a cardinal.
Foley, 75, learned in September that he has leukemia and anemia and had been developing blood clots during long air flights. "I'm not in any pain or discomfort," he said Friday, "just very tired."
Benoît XVI accepte la démission du cardinal Foley
Apr 02, 2011
Il était Grand Maître de l’Ordre des Chevaliers du Saint Sépulcre
ROME, Mercredi 16 mars 2011 (ZENIT.org) - Le cardinal John Patrick Foley a démissionné de sa charge de Grand Maître de l'Ordre des Chevaliers du Saint Sépulcre. « Jusqu'au bout de sa mission, il a servi avec zèle la Terre Sainte et ses chrétiens malgré sa longue maladie », indique un communiqué du patriarcat latin de Jérusalem.
Le même site rappelle que le pape Benoît XVI avait créé Mgr Foley cardinal le 24 novembre 2007, avec le titre de cardinal-diacre de Saint Sébastien au Palatin et qu'il l'avait nommé Grand Maître de l'Ordre équestre du Saint-Sépulcre de Jérusalem pour succéder au cardinal Carlo Furno. Il a été nommé à ce poste après avoir été président du Conseil pontifical pour les communications sociales pendant 23 ans.
En raison de son état de santé, le cardinal Foley, 75 ans, a présenté une lettre de démission au secrétaire d'Etat du Vatican, le 8 février. Après avoir rencontré Benoît XVI le 10 février, il a rejoint l'archidiocèse de Philadelphie le 12. Il séjourne maintenant à la villa St Joseph, maison de retraite pour les prêtres à Darby.
« Le cardinal Foley a été un grand défenseur de l'Université de Bethléem. Le Patriarcat latin lui est reconnaissant pour tout ce qu'il a donné aux chrétiens de Terre Sainte qui ne manqueront pas de prier pour lui, pour qu'il porte la croix de sa maladie avec courage », conclut le communiqué.
US cardinal keeps watchful eye on situation unfolding in Middle East
Mar 13, 2011
PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- Cardinal John P. Foley is keeping a watchful eye on the revolution in Egypt and other nations in the Middle East, despite his recent retirement and resignation as grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
The organization helps to raise funds for the works of the church in that region.
"I can understand the current unrest -- it's an expression of desire for democracy, but I hope it doesn't become a situation in which Christians are further discriminated against in any of these countries," Cardinal Foley said. "The situation is so unstable there, and of course Christians are such a minority there."
In Egypt, about 10 percent of the population is Christian, primarily Coptic Orthodox, he explained.
"We had just been asked by the Holy Father to help especially the Latin-rite Christians in Egypt and Lebanon in addition to Israel, Palestine and Jordan," Cardinal Foley said.
The latter three countries are part of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher support.
"Egypt and Lebanon are separate Latin dioceses, but they are in need of assistance also and are considered part of the Holy Land," he added.
The support aids parishes and schools in those lands, and to help Christians maintain their institutions and presence in a heavily non-Christian environment, as well as some humanitarian assistance, the cardinal said.
"We certainly want to maintain the continued presence of Christians in the Holy Land, the successors of the original followers of Christ, in the land where he was born, where he lived, where he died and where he rose from the dead," Cardinal Foley said. "That's very important, I think. And it's been a privilege to have been associated with it."
When Cardinal Foley met with Pope Benedict XVI Feb. 10, he told the pontiff he was grateful for his appointment as grand master "because it was like a nice retreat, preparing for my own retirement."
Traveling to the Holy Land and meeting with those who have generously assisted the Christians of the Holy Land through the years has been an inspiration to him, the cardinal said.
When then-Archbishop Foley began his duties as grand master, the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem received approximately $7 million euros (US$9.6 million) a year.
"Now, they're getting $10 million euros (US$13.8 million) a year" to send to the Holy Land, he said.
The funds are contributed by a membership of approximately 28,000 Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher around the globe.
Among the organization's 60 jurisdictions are two new chapters: one in Moscow, added this past January, the other in Cape Town, South Africa, added last December.
In addition, new jurisdictions have been formed in Italy. Additional jurisdictions were planned for the United States, where they currently number nine.
Intervento a Cleveland del cardinale Foley alla riunione generale dell'Ordine del Santo Sepolcro negli Stati Uniti
Oct 14, 2010
“Uomini e donne di profonda fede cattolica che cercano di approfondire la loro vita spirituale, soprattutto attraverso una maggiore familiarità con la Sacra Scrittura, e che nutrono un grande interesse per la Terra Santa, sia nel sostenervi la presenza cristiana e cattolica sia nel lavorare per la pace e la riconciliazione”. E’ l’identikit che il cardinale, John Patrick Foley, ha tracciato ieri dei membri – oggi circa 27 mila – dell’Ordine del Santo Sepolcro di Gerusalemme, del quale il porporato riveste la carica di gran maestro. Il cardinale Foley ha preso la parola a Cleveland, in Ohio, durante la riunione generale della Luogotenenza Usa nordoccidentale dell’Ordine. In particolare, il gran maestro ha messo in risalto le attività solidali e caritative promosse dall’antica istituzione, specie nel campo dell’istruzione, che ha portato all’iniziativa, tra le altre, denominata “un computer per ogni bambino” e destinata agli alunni delle scuole cattoliche in Terra Santa.
“Il Patriarca latino di Gerusalemme, nostro Gran Priore – ha ricordato quindi il cardinale Foley – ha chiesto assistenza speciale con la recente istituzione dell'Università di Madaba in Giordania, per la quale il Santo Padre ha benedetto la prima pietra durante la sua visita dello scorso anno”. Mentre l'Università di Betlemme, ha soggiunto, ha chiesto di “istituire una cattedra che comporterebbe un impegno di 400 mila dollari ogni anno per cinque anni”. Parlando di altri progetti promossi e sostenuti dall’Ordine del Santo Sepolcro, dal Sudafrica all’India, dall’Europa al Venezuela, il porporato ha annunciato l’entità delle cifre raccolte dal 10 settembre in qua (700 mila euro in più rispetto al 2009) e di quelle destinate alla Terra Santa (200 mila euro rispetto al passato). Tutto questo “indica la dedizione, il buon esempio e la generosità dei nostri soci e l'interesse per il nostro Ordine dei cattolici di tutto il mondo”, ha concluso il cardinale Foley, che oggi presiederà una Messa nella cattedrale di Cleveland in occasione della cerimonia di investitura di nuovi cavalieri e dame dell’Ordine. (A cura di Alessandro De Carolis)
Kardinal Foley bittet um Gebet für Nahost-Gespräche
Oct 09, 2010
Vom Frieden würden besonders die Christen profitieren
ROM, 13. September 2010 (Zenit.org).- Die Aussichten für eine erfolgreiche Beendigung der laufenden Runde der Nahost-Gespräche seien nicht vielversprechend, aber Kardinal John Foley zufolge ermutige schon die Tatsache, dass sie stattfänden.
Der Kardinal, der Großmeister des Ritterordens vom Heiligen Grab zu Jerusalem ist, erklärte in einem Brief, den er am 7. September an die 26.000 Mitglieder des Ordens schrieb, er stehe voll und ganz hinter diesen Gesprächen. Darin lädt er die Mitglieder zum Gebet für den Frieden ein.
Der Kardinal schreibt: „Alle im Nahen Osten würden von einem gerechten und dauerhaften Frieden zwischen Israel und Palästina profitieren, - aber unsere Mitchristen würden wahrscheinlich mehr als die meisten anderen davon profitieren, da sie im Land bleiben könnten, das durch Leben, Tod und Auferstehung unseres Herrn Jesus Christus geheiligt wurde, dessen Anhänger ihre Vorfahren vor fast zweitausend Jahren wurden und dem sie unter großem persönlichem Einsatz treu geblieben sind.
In dieser Zeit, in der auch die Bischofssynode über den Nahen Osten in Rom stattfinden wird, möchte ich alle unsere Ritter und Damen, sowie ihre Familien und Freunde bitten, in ihren täglichen Gebeten folgende Anliegen mit einzuschließen: für den Frieden im Nahen Osten, besonders im Heiligen Land, für den Erfolg der laufenden Verhandlungen für den Frieden zwischen Israel und den palästinensischen Autonomiebehörden und für die geistige Frucht der Bischofssynode für den Nahen Osten".
Die Sonderversammlung der Bischofssynode für den Nahen Osten wird vom 10. bis 24. Oktober in Rom stattfinden.
Christian exodus from Holy Land hurts entire region, cardinal says
Dec 11, 2009
OSLO, Norway (CNS) -- The presence of Christians in the Holy Land is a force for peace and harmony in the region, particularly because of the education and health care they offer to all, said U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
But Christians are leaving the Middle East in record numbers, he said during a conference Dec. 4 in Oslo.
Cardinal Foley said that "60 years ago 20 percent of the population of the Holy Land was Christian. Now it is said that less than 2 percent of the population in the same area is Christian."
The Knights of the Holy Sepulcher support the church in the region and the Christians who remain. Since 2000, the cardinal said, the order has given more than $50 million in assistance to Catholic, ecumenical and interreligious initiatives, but mainly to Catholic-run schools, hospitals and clinics.
Because the Catholic health, education and welfare agencies help all people -- not just Catholics -- and bring Christians, Muslims and Jews together, he said the Christian presence in the region is a "source of hope for understanding, peace and reconciliation."
The diminishing percentage of Christians in the Holy Land's population is not simply the result of Christians leaving, but is also due to the influx of Muslims into the Palestinian territories and Jordan because of the region's wars, he said.
And, he said, "it also appears to be a demographic fact" that Muslims in the region have more children than the area's Christians or Jews do.
Cardinal Foley said the demographic shift seems to be a concern for Israeli authorities.
"The present foreign minister of Israel had been quoted, before he assumed his present office, as favoring the departure from Israel of its Palestinian citizens," said Cardinal Foley. "Thank God that no such action has been taken, but it does contribute to a feeling of insecurity and indeed of second-class citizenship on the part of the non-Jewish citizens of Israel."
After his introductory remarks, Cardinal Foley read a report on the region's population statistics and Christian emigration prepared by Msgr. Robert L. Stern, secretary-general of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.
Msgr. Stern said that with the exception of Israel, "there are few really reliable statistics about Middle East country populations."
However, he said, the most reliable estimates lead to the conclusion that Christians make up 2 percent of the population of Israel; 1 percent of the population in the Palestinian territories; 2.7 percent of Syria's population; 4 percent in Jordan; 10 percent in Egypt; and 30 percent of the population in Lebanon.
One fact is clear, he said: the percentage of Christians in the Middle East populations is declining drastically, not only because of emigration but because Christians tend to be more educated than the majority of their neighbors and higher levels of education tend to lead to smaller family sizes.
Msgr. Stern said that unlike Judaism and Islam, which are strongly bound to specific holy places, Christianity is called to be universal and to exist anywhere and everywhere.
"There are no geographical imperatives to Christianity," he said.
While Christianity's historic roots are in the Holy Land and "there is no place so evocative to visit for Christians as the Holy Land," if one day there were not a single Christian left in the land of Jesus' birth, death and resurrection "it will not hurt Christianity fundamentally."
"Sadly, at the rate things are going, we may be coming very perilously close to that," Msgr. Stern wrote.
The disappearance of the region's Christians would be bad for the rest of the population as well, he said.
"Christianity is a bridge to the future for the Muslim world," he said. For example, the separation of church and state and the respect for religious freedom enshrined in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and "rooted deeply in the teachings of Jesus" are values the Muslim world must accept to be integrated into modern society, he said.
Msgr. Stern also cautioned against Middle East Christians defining themselves as Westerners in opposition to the Arab, Muslim majorities of most of their neighbors, which creates a sense of separation and foreignness.
The monsignor stressed the importance of not blaming Christians who leave in search of a better life for themselves and their families, taking with them important faith and family values that they contribute to their new communities.
"Emigration isn't necessarily an evil," he said. "But it does involve a loss. There's a patrimony and a culture that is being lost with the exodus of Christians."
Msgr. Stern encouraged members of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher and all people concerned about the situation in the Middle East to provide material aid to the Christians in the Holy Land and to lobby their own governments to work for peace and justice in the region.
In addition, he said, Christians outside the Holy Land must "help those who wish to migrate: welcome them" and help them establish themselves in their new homes.
Cardinal says Israel's security barrier raises human rights concerns
Nov 02, 2009
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- While Israel has a right to protect its citizens, the security barrier separating Israel from the Palestinian territories and checkpoints along the barrier raise human rights concerns, said a U.S. cardinal.
"The most tragic thing I have seen is the miles-long wall that separates Jerusalem from Bethlehem and separates families and keeps farmers from the land that has been in their families for generations. It is humiliating and distressing," Cardinal John P. Foley, grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, told participants at the 11th international conference of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation Oct. 24.
"I appreciate the Israeli government's concern for security" and respect it, he said. "But many of these measures raise serious human rights issues that they refuse to acknowledge and address."
The wall the cardinal referenced is a series of barbed-wire fences, security roads and looming cement slabs that, if completed as planned, would stretch 400 miles through the West Bank and restrict the movement of 38 percent of the residents of the West Bank.
Cardinal Foley said the barrier already limits many Palestinians, who cannot find work or keep their jobs because they are never sure they will be allowed through the checkpoints or how long they will have to wait to get through them.
It also affects students, "eager to learn, who are unable to get to school regularly," because they are unable to cross the barrier, he said.
"I visited the Catholic seminary over the Christmas holidays last year and was both saddened and inspired by the many seminarians who had not gone home because they were afraid that they would not be allowed to cross over the border between Jordan and Israel or through the (barrier's) checkpoints and get back to the seminary," Cardinal Foley said.
He said since Israel was established as a Jewish state in 1948 the Christian population in Israel has decreased "from 18 percent to less than 2 percent."
"This is a result of both significant immigration of Jews to Israel and the great increase among Muslims and, at the same time, an exodus of Christians from there," he said. Christians and Muslims are often the oppressed groups in the area, Cardinal Foley said.
"We believe that Jews, Christians and Muslims -- all of whom place high importance (on) Jerusalem and, indeed, all of Israel ... can and should live together in peace," Cardinal Foley said.
The cardinal was the keynote speaker at the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation conference and received the Living Stones Solidarity Award, which honors those who have made "a sustained and extraordinary effort to love, support and stand in solidarity with the Christians in the Holy Land."
Other award recipients were Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States; Samir Abu-Ghazaleh, a member of the foundation's advisory board; and Mary E. Beahn, a foundation volunteer from Derwood, Md.
The conference was held at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center and included discussions of current developments in the quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how faith can be effective in resolving conflict.
Las confesiones del cardenal John P. Foley
Sept 13, 2009
El purpurado comparte recuerdos de su vocación
ROMA, 18 de agosto de 2009 (ZENIT.org).- Para el cardenal estadounidense John P. Foley, no hay nada más importante en la vida que enseñar a la gente quién es Jesús y ayudar a crecer en su cercanía.
En pleno Año Sacerdotal, el gran maestre de la Orden Ecuestre del Santo Sepulcro de Jerusalén se ha sentado con ZENIT para reflexionar sobre su vida como sacerdote.
El antiguo presidente del Consejo Pontificio para las Comunicaciones Sociales reconoce el ejemplo de sus padres y de sacerdotes que ha conocido, como instrumento fundamental para descubrir su vocación, pero también destaca dos eventos claves de su vida.
"Yo entré en el seminario dos veces: una después de la enseñanza secundaria y otra, después de la universidad", explica.
Y continúa: "En mi último año de secundaria, durante la Navidad, fui a nuestra iglesia parroquial y me arrodillé frente a la cuna".
"Dije: 'Señor, Tú me has dado todo lo que tengo --mi vida, mi familia, mi fe, una educación muy buena-- y yo quiero devolvértelo todo'", recuerda.
De esta manera, al final de ese año, el joven entró en el noviciado jesuita. Tras varios meses, se dijo a sí mismo: "Creo que sería más feliz como sacerdote diocesano".
John Foley dejó entonces a los jesuitas y acabó su carrera de Historia en la Universidad de San José, en Filadelfia, Pennsylvania.
Hubo algo "crucial" en este momento --explica--: hacer voluntariado y dar catequesis a niños con minusvalía mental.
El cardenal recuerda: "Tenía seis niños en esa escuela a los que enseñaba el catecismo; la Hermana superiora vino y dijo: 'Bien, niños, ¿os gusta el señor Foley?'".
"Un chico respondió: "¡No! ¡No! Amamos al señor Foley!"
"Pensé que era una maravillosa distinción realizada por un chico con minusvalía mental", recuerda.
Y continúa: "Ella dijo: "¿Por qué amáis al señor Foley?".
"Él dijo: 'Amamos al señor Foley porque nos enseña sobre Jesús --añade--. Y yo pensé: 'No hay nada más importante en la vida que enseñar a la gente sobre Jesús y llevarles a Jesús'".
"Esto solidificó mi vocación al sacerdocio", reconoce.
El cardenal Foley destaca: "Pienso que fue providencial que tuviera que dejar el seminario la primera vez y estudiar en la universidad, donde tuve una muy buena educación y también una muy buena experiencia en el trabajo apostólico".
Además de catequista, participó activamente en las Congregaciones Marianas, en el club de debate, el gobierno estudiantil, incluyendo un periodo como presidente de la asociación de estudiantes, y el coro.
Entró en el seminario diocesano al final de su último año de universidad y fue ordenado sacerdote cinco años después.
El cardenal confiesa: "No he tenido nunca un día infeliz siendo sacerdote, he amado el sacerdocio".
También destaca la función de su familia como apoyo a su vocación sacerdotal y afirma que sus padres "nunca dijeron: 'Deberías ser sacerdote?; ni tampoco pusieron ninguna objeción cuando dejé el seminario o volví a entrar".
"Ellos siempre apoyaban lo que yo decidiera hacer --afirma--. Eran maravillosos".
También recuerda la contribución de una hermana religiosa que le dio una copia de "Imitación de Cristo" cuando todavía estudiaba en la escuela.
El cardenal subraya que lo leyó durante toda la etapa de educación secundaria y todavía conserva el libro, que sigue leyendo y meditando.
Tras 47 años de sacerdocio, sostiene que las principales dificultades contra las que lucha pertenecen a la cultura, que "parece ser cada vez más secularizada".
"Es más difícil llevar un mensaje espiritual a la gente hoy -opina--, ya que quizás no están tan abiertos como antes".
También --añade-- las dificultades físicas se multiplican "a medida que nos hacemos mayores".
Nacido en un suburbio de Filadelfia en 1935, cumplirá 74 años en noviembre.
La edad "te hace más lento y no puedes hacer todas las cosas que te gustaría poder hacer", reconoce.
Sin embargo, añade, San Ignacio nos enseña en sus Ejercicios Espirituales que "debemos entregarnos a Dios en la salud y en la enfermedad, en la pobreza y en la prosperidad".
"Por tanto, debemos ser indiferentes en este sentido y limitarnos a usar todo para mayor gloria de Dios", pide.
Y explica que éste es su lema episcopal: "ad maiorem Dei gloriam: para mayor gloria de Dios".
A pesar de las dificultades naturales que surgen, destaca el cardenal, ha habido algunos grandes momentos en su sacerdocio.
Recuerda que sus mejores momentos están asociados con los dos pontificados bajo los que ha podido servir en Roma.
El purpurado destaca especialmente los viajes con el Papa Juan Pablo II en 1979 a Polonia y a los Estados Unidos, así como las visitas con Benedicto XVI a Tierra Santa y a los Estados Unidos, el año pasado.
Añade que otro punto culminante de su ministerio sacerdotal es el trabajo que ha realizado durante 25 años como comentarista para una red de televisión estadounidenses en las ceremonias papales en Navidad, Semana Santa y Viernes Santo.
"Es un camino de evangelización --explica-- dar a conocer a la gente lo que está pasando en la liturgia, para que puedan apreciar el culto católico" y "otros puedan introducirse en lo que creemos y en cómo trabajamos como católicos".
También, añade, ayuda a los católicos a "apreciar mejor la misa y la devoción católica".
Como sacerdote, confiesa el cardenal Foley, "he tenido momentos especiales de consuelo ayudando a la gente a vivir su matrimonio o recibiendo a personas en la Iglesia".
En concreto le emociona el caso de "un compañero de clase en la universidad de Columbia quien pidió hace años convertirse al catolicismo; era judío, un judío no practicante".
"También muchas de las personas con las que había debatido cuando estaba en la universidad, y con las que había discutido sobre teología, decidieron finalmente convertirse al catolicismo", añade.
"Esos son grandes momentos de consuelo personal --reconoce--: ser capaz de ayudar a compartir mi fe con otros y esperar que ellos reciban el don de la fe".
[Información de Mercedes de la Torre, redactada por Genevieve Pollock y traducida del inglés por Patricia Navas
En el Año Sacerdotal, ZENIT ofrece las "confesiones" sobre su vocación de cardenales, obispos y sacerdotes. La serie fue abierta por el cardenal Tarcisio Bertone, secretario de Estado de Benedicto XVI]
Le confessioni del Cardinale John P. Foley
Sept 13, 2009
Il porporato condivide i ricordi legati alla sua vocazione
le, “ho vissuto dei momenti speciali di consolazione nell'aiutare le persone a vivere il loro matrimonio o nell'accogliere le persone all'interno della Chiesa”.
In particolare ha detto di ricordare con emozione il caso di un compagno di classe all'Università di Columbia, un ebreo non praticante, che anni fa gli chiese di potersi convertire al cattolicesimo.
“Anche molte delle persone con le quali avevo discusso quando ero all'università e con le quali avevo dibattutto di teologia decisero alla fine di convertirsi al cattolicesimo”.
“Questi sono per me dei grandi momenti di consolazione personale – ha ammesso –: poter aiutare gli altri a condividere la mia fede e sperare che anche loro ricevano il dono della fede”.
El cardenal Foley recomienda viajar a Tierra Santa
Jul 25, 2009
El histórico peregrinaje del Papa Benedicto XVI en Tierra Santa que se llevó a cabo en mayo pasado fue un gran éxito. El Cardenal John Patrick Foley, Gran Maestro del Orden del Santo Sepulcro, que acompañó al Papa en este importante viaje, lo revela a H2onews.
“La visita del Santo Padre fue muy exitosa, una victoria para la comunidad cristiana. Me parece que fue muy importante para toda la gente en Tierra Santa: en Jordania, Israel y en los territorios palestinos, porque fue un llamado a la paz, a una resolución no violenta de frente a todas las diferencias”.
La Orden Ecuestre del Santo Sepulcro de Jerusalén desde el año 2000 ha contribuído con 50 millones de dólares para escuelas, hospitales, parroquias y centros sociales para la comunidad cristiana en Tierra Santa. Además de esta asistencia material, también busca dar testimonio vivo de Jesús en esta zona de conflicto.
“En la Edad Media protegíamos a los peregrinos en su camino hacia Tierra Santa y protegíamos los Santos Lugares mismos. Ahora tratamos de ayudar a las comunidades cristianas en Tierra Santa, para que no sea sólo un museo para los cristianos de estos lugares santos por el paso de Cristo, sino también para mantener activa la comunidad cristiana y consigan ser testigos de la fe en nuestro Señor Jesucristo”.
Recomienda a todos vivir la gran experiencia de Tierra Santa, que describe el cardenal Foley, como un “viaje único”.
“De verdad recomiendo a todos vivir la experiencia de Tierra Santa. La gente hace peregrinajes a Lourdes, Fátima, Santiago de Compostela, todos estos lugares son muy importantes y buenos. Pero creo que un viaje a la Tierra Santa es inolvidable. Recorres el Mar de Galilea donde Jesús camino sobre el agua, subes el Monte de las Bienaventuranzas, visitas Belén donde nació y Nazaret donde creció, y por supuesto Jerusalén donde predicó, padeció, murió en la Cruz y resucitó de los muertos”.
Una riflessione su etica e media del cardinale Foley e di mons. Celli al seminario dell'Ucip
Dec 16, 2008
Nel campo dei media, gli aspetti etici dovrebbero essere parte integrante dei processi decisionali sia per ciò che riguarda le responsabilità professionali, sia per il modo in cui una notizia viene montata e presentata al pubblico. E’ una delle convinzioni espresse dal cardinale John Patrick Foley al Seminario internazionale dell’Ucip, l’Unione cattolica internazionale della stampa, in programma oggi a Roma. “Esiste - ha riconosciuto - un sincero interesse nel promuovere i principi etici” nel settore mediatico “anche tra i membri di altre religioni” e tra “le persone di buona volontà in tutto il mondo”. “Quando il ruolo della religione è negato, il ruolo dell’etica personale e professionale, la vita è compromessa”, ha affermato il porporato con decisione, invitando i giornalisti cattolici a approfondire gli insegnamenti prodotti dal magistero vaticano a partire dal Concilio Vaticano II sui vari microcosmi comunicativi, dalla pubblicità a Internet. L’etica nel giornalismo, ha osservato ancora il cardinale Foley, “non è un'ingerenza della religione nel lavoro professionale, ma una dimostrazione di elevato standard professionale”, che “attira il rispetto dei colleghi e del pubblico”.
Dunque, ha proseguito sulla falsariga mons. Celli - attuale presidente del dicastero vaticano delle Comunicazioni sociali - bisogna “aiutare quanti lavorano nella stampa ad aspirare ai massimi livelli professionali ed etici”. Spendendo parole di apprezzamento per il lavoro svolto dall’Ucip nel campo dei media, mons. Celli ha ricordato il messaggio di Benedetto XVI per l’ultima Giornata delle comunicazioni sociali, in particolare il richiamo all’“infoetica”, evidenziando come le parole del Papa incoraggino “quanti lavorano nei media a farsi carico delle grandi responsabilità” loro affidate
Si apre la Consulta quinquennale dell'Ordine del Santo Sepolcro di Gerusalemme
Dec 05, 2008
Inaugurata dal Cardinale Foley, Gran Maestro dell'Ordine
ROMA, lunedì, 1° dicembre 2008 (ZENIT.org).- Si è aperta questo lunedì a Roma la Consulta quinquennale dell'Ordine Equestre del Santo Sepolcro di Gerusalemme, che si concluderà venerdì prossimo, 5 dicembre.
L'omelia della Messa e il discorso introduttivo sono stati pronunciati dal Cardinale John Patrick Foley, Gran Maestro dell'Ordine, alla sua prima esperienza in una Consulta visto che, membro dell'Ordine dal 1991, è stato nominato alla guida di questo da Benedetto XVI nel giugno 2007.
L'obiettivo della Consulta, ha affermato, è non solo verificare ciò che è avvenuto negli ultimi cinque anni, ma anche e soprattutto pianificare con cura il programma per i cinque successivi, per capire "come si possono aiutare in modo più ampio ed efficace i nostri fratelli cristiani in Terra Santa e come possiamo in questo modo approfondire la nostra vita spirituale in unione con Gesù Cristo, la cui vita, morte e resurrezione, nella terra che cerchiamo di servire, ha reso questa davvero santa".
Il porporato ha ricordato di aver visitato due volte la Terra Santa quest'anno: a gennaio, quando era ancora in carica il Patriarca Michel Sabbah, e a giugno, per le cerimonie di successione del nuovo Patriarca, Fouad Twal. Il Patriarca latino, ha sottolineato, è per statuto Gran Priore dell'Ordine Equestre del Santo Sepolcro di Gerusalemme.
La "grande gentilezza" dei due Patriarchi in occasione delle sue visite, ha ricordato il Cardinale Foley, gli ha permesso di "vedere in prima persona la differenza che il nostro Ordine fa in Terra Santa nel numero e nella qualità delle scuole, delle parrocchie e delle istituzioni caritative che aiutiamo a sostenere".
Il Cardinale ha anche affermato di essere rimasto "favorevolmente colpito" "non solo dalla qualità del clero del Patriarcato latino, ma anche dalla qualità e dalla spiritualità dei seminaristi, molti dei quali compiono grandi sacrifici per continuare i loro studi, soprattutto visto che molti di loro non possono tornare a casa durante i periodi di vacanza a causa delle restrizioni alla loro mobilità imposte dalle autorità israeliane".
La situazione dei cristiani di Terra Santa, ha denunciato il porporato, è "logorante".
"Soprattutto nei Territori Palestinesi, le opportunità di alloggio, impiego, viaggio e perfino accesso alla propria terra sono sempre più difficili", ha riconosciuto.
"Sarebbe presuntuoso da parte mia annunciare nuovi programmi o nuove iniziative in questo momento in cui dovrei approfittare della vostra esperienza e della vostra saggezza, e sono ansioso di ascoltare le vostre idee", ha detto ai presenti alla Consulta.
Nel corso dell'evento, interverranno oratori di prestigio come il Cardinale Leonardo Sandri, prefetto della Congregazione per le Chiese Orientali, sotto la cui giurisdizione si trova il Patriarcato latino; l'Arcivescovo Gianfranco Ravasi, presidente del Pontificio Consiglio della Cultura; monsignor Robert Stern, presidente della Catholic Near East Welfare Association e della Pontificia Missione per la Palestina, nonché membro dell'Ordine.
Il Cardinale Tarcisio Bertone, Segretario di Stato vaticano, parlerà dal canto suo della politica della Santa Sede circa la Terra Santa e della sua visione dell'opera dell'Ordine per la Chiesa.
Venerdì i partecipanti alla Consulta verranno ricevuti in udienza da Papa Benedetto XVI.
"Abbiamo scelto deliberatamente di incontrarci in un luogo che ha una bellissima cappella e una sala conferenze ben attrezzata", ha aggiunto il Cardinale Foley riferendosi alla sede dello svolgimento della Consulta, Villa Aurelia. "Volevamo risparmiare denaro per poter avere più risorse disponibili per aiutare i nostri fratelli cristiani in Terra Santa".
Il porporato ha concluso il suo intervento auspicando che la Consulta aiuti i membri dell'Ordine a tornare alle loro sedi "con un rinnovato senso di dedizione e con le informazioni e le esperienze personali necessarie a ispirare i membri presenti e a reclutare nuovi Cavalieri e Dame dediti ad aiutare i discendenti dei cristiani delle origini nella terra resa santa dalla presenza del Nostro Signore e Salvatore Gesù Cristo".
Nel difficile contesto della Terra Santa, ricorda "L'Osservatore Romano", l'Ordine Equestre del Santo Sepolcro di Gerusalemme è "chiamato a concentrare i propri sforzi lungo tre direttrici: l'approfondimento della spiritualità che ne ispira ogni azione, l'incremento degli aiuti che fornisce ai cristiani del Vicino Oriente e il consolidamento dell'organizzazione e dei mezzi, al fine di rispondere ai crescenti bisogni delle popolazioni".
In vista della Consulta, uno strumento di lavoro è stato elaborato da un comitato ad hoc riunitosi a Ginevra nel luglio 2007 e a Roma nell'ottobre dello stesso anno e nell'aprile scorso.
Cardinal Foley entertains Knight’s dinner, asks for lifting of excommunication
Aug 06, 2008
The “States Dinner” that the Knights of Columbus hold at their annual convention is always a colorful affair as representatives from the different states and provinces express their state pride, but this year’s dinner was graced with the quick-witted humor and insights of Cardinal John Foley.
Quebec City, Aug 5, 2008 / 09:53 pm (CNA).- Aware that the city of Québec is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year, Cardinal Foley lauded the recently held International Eucharistic Congress and used it as an opportunity to request a favor of Québec’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet.
“Your Eminence, when Father John Carroll, who was to become the first American bishop …accompanied Benjamin Franklin to Québec to ask that the Canadians join in the American Revolution, the then Bishop Briand of Québec forbade his priests to have anything to do with the visitors and he actually excommunicated John Carroll.”
“Bishop Briand had his reasons, in that the British had guaranteed the Catholics of Québec freedom of religion, a freedom which was not guaranteed at that time in the original thirteen rebellious colonies, where Catholics were often discriminated against,” explained the cardinal.
“Bishop Briand saw no reason for Canadians to join the American colonies against the British, and he was very annoyed that a Catholics priest should be among those seeking to encourage Canadians to risk their religious liberty in what he considered to be a dubious cause. So he excommunicated Father Carroll—and there is no record of which I know that such an excommunication has ever been lifted.”
“Your Eminence, Cardinal Ouellet,” said Cardinal Foley, “in the interest of better Canadian-American relations and in recognition of the fact that Americans now enjoy religious liberty… I would deeply appreciate it if you might lift the excommunication against John Carroll.”
“A government official down here said he said yes,” Cardinal Foley quipped.
Since recently being assigned to work in the Holy Land as the Grand Master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, the cardinal also brought in the plight of Christians in the region.
He reminded the crowd that “we cannot permit the Holy Land to become merely a Christian museum; we must keep alive a vibrant Christian community in the land made sacred by the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
The American cardinal closed by saying that the Church in the Holy Land is working for the “love and respect for which Jesus called –‘Love one another as I have loved you’.”
Cardinale Foley: l'aiuto ai cristiani in Terra Santa, un aiuto alla pace
Jul 10, 2008
Dichiarazioni del Gran Maestro dell'Ordine Equestre del Santo Sepolcro.
CITTA' DEL VATICANO, mercoledì, 9 luglio 2008 (ZENIT.org).- Il Gran Maestro dell'Ordine Equestre del Santo Sepolcro, il Cardinale John P. Foley, ha lanciato un nuovo appello ad aiutare i cristiani di Terra Santa per promuovere in questo modo la pace nella regione.
Dopo essere tornato da Gerusalemme, dove ha partecipato all'insediamento del nuovo Patriarca latino, Sua Beatitudine Fouad Twal, il Cardinale ha voluto condividere con ZENIT la sua preoccupazione per le condizioni dei cristiani nei luoghi in cui Gesù ha vissuto.
“Soffrono una doppia minoranza: in Israele sono una minoranza all'interno della popolazione ebraica e di quella palestinese, che per la stragrande maggioranza è costituita da musulmani”, ha spiegato.
Oltre a dover affrontare tutti i problemi collegati al fatto di essere una minoranza, i cristiani che vivono in Terra Santa condividono quelli dei loro vicini palestinesi ed ebrei, aggiunge.
“Chiaramente ci sono anche le difficoltà legate al muro di separazione costruito attorno a Betlemme; le difficoltà nello spostarsi tra West Bank, Israele e Gerusalemme; le difficoltà nel guadagnarsi da vivere o nell'accedere all'educazione. Tutto ciò incide duramente sulla comunità cristiana”, osserva.
“Aiutateli, aiutate le loro scuole, le loro parrocchie, l'Università di Betlemme, che è un'università cattolica sorta in una società a forte maggioranza musulmana – chiede il porporato statunitense –. Tra l'altro le scuole cattoliche accettano anche musulmani contribuendo così alla comprensione interreligiosa e, speriamo, a una possibile pace tra musulmani, ebrei e cristiani”.
Cardinal Foley calls friend Russert 'one of the greatest journalists'
Jun 17, 2008
U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley had lunch in Rome with Tim Russert and his family June 11, renewing ties of friendship that went back 24 years.
VATICAN CITY (CNS, Jun-16-2008) -- Two days later, the 58-year-old Russert collapsed and died of a heart attack back in his NBC office in Washington. Cardinal Foley, shocked and saddened like many others, said journalism had lost one of its best.
"It's the loss of one of the greatest journalists in the United States, if not the greatest. He was always kind and gracious, but he always got revealing material from people," Cardinal Foley told Catholic News Service.
The cardinal thought so highly of Russert that he tried to help him get a papal interview -- first with Pope John Paul II and then Pope Benedict XVI. He thought Russert's persistent questioning style would have highlighted the message of both pontiffs.
"He was always respectful of the individuals he was interviewing, but he didn't let them off the hook. He always went for the truth and went for an illuminating answer," Cardinal Foley said.
"And I thought, the pope had a lot of truth to share. It would have been wonderful if that opportunity had occurred, but it didn't," he said.
Russert, the NBC News Washington bureau chief and "Meet the Press" moderator, was in Rome on vacation with his wife, Maureen Orth, and their son, Luke, whom Cardinal Foley baptized in New York some 22 years ago. After their lunch together, the cardinal took them to an internal entrance to the Sistine Chapel and sent them on their way.
Cardinal Foley, grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, said he first met Russert in 1984. Then-Archbishop Foley was head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and Russert had come with a proposal to bring NBC's "Today" show to Rome for Easter 1985.
"We worked to make that happen," Cardinal Foley recalled. "NBC has been back for a number of things since then, and we worked with him."
Over the years, Cardinal Foley said he came to consider Russert the best interviewer in television, someone who drew information out of people without badgering or demeaning them.
Russert was also "never ashamed to be identified as a Catholic, which I think is very important," Cardinal Foley said.
"There are a number of people who want to keep sort of hidden, but not Tim. He was always proud of the fact that he was Catholic," the cardinal said.
"That was one of the reasons he wanted to interview the popes, to help make what they were saying more public. It was an act of loyalty on his part, not an act of exploitation," he said.
«La pedofilia è colpa della Chiesa e non dei media»
Apr 11, 2008
La Chiesa deve offrire il massimo e quando questo non accade non può essere colpa dei mezzi di comunicazione che danno ampio risalto all'evento negativo.
CITTÀ DEL VATICANO (10 aprile, Il Messagggero) - A fare autocritica è il cardinale John Patrick Foley, gran Maestro dell'Ordine equestre del Santo Sepolcro di Gerusalemme e per molti anni presidente del Pontificio Consiglio delle Comunicazioni Sociali, in una lunga intervista all'Osservatore Romanocommentando il peso dato dai mezzi di comunicazione agli scandali, riguardanti vicende di pedofilia, di una parte del clero americano.
«Noi siamo chiamati ai massimi livelli di perfezione e quando tradiamo questa fiducia non possiamo certo cavarcela criticando i mezzi di comunicazione sociale. Può darsi anche che alcuni media provino gusto nell'offrire un'immagine della Chiesa come un idolo dai piedi d'argilla. Ma comunque il fallimento è stato nostro, non loro». «È certamente un peccato - continua il porporato nell'intervista rilasciata a pochi giorni dal viaggio di Benedetto XVI negli Stati Uniti - il fatto che gran parte del bene che la Chiesa ha fatto venga trascurato a causa di questi scandali. Alcune persone sono pregiudizialmente ostili alla Chiesa, ma è anche vero che da noi ci si aspetta il bene».
Per questo il cardinale è convinto che anche se le «esigenze dei media possano sembrare eccessive o irragionevoli agli occhi della Chiesa» è «convinto che non bisogna lasciarsi sfuggire le opportunità offerte. Approfittare delle occasioni che ci vengono date per fare del bene e non avere un atteggiamento di timore, come invece accade talvolta nella stessa Chiesa».
Secondo il porporato, la Chiesa dovrebbe essere «aperta, onesta e anche prudente», in quanto «gli strumenti della comunicazione sociale non riflettono soltanto la cultura di una società ma contribuiscono direttamente a determinarla». L'ex capodicastero vaticano, inoltre, è consapevole che «la cultura statunitense esercita una grande influenza su tutto il mondo a motivo della notevole diffusione di programmi televisivi, film e musica».
Per questo ha lavorato con produttori televisivi per convincerli «a dare più spazio ad argomenti che richiamino i sani valori morali» e ha anche avuto esperienza diretta tenendo incontri biennali a Hollywood. Infine un'ultima riflessione viene fatta sul ruolo di internet definita dal cardinale «un'opportunità meravigliosa», tanto che lui è riuscito a ottenere International Committee for assignment of names il dominio «.va», che garantisce «l'autenticità dei contenuti che hanno questo dominio».
I cattolici nei media: aperti, onesti, prudenti
Apr 11, 2008
Gli strumenti della comunicazione non riflettono soltanto la cultura di una società ma contribuiscono direttamente a determinarla. Partendo da questa constatazione il cardinale John Patrick Foley - gran maestro dell'Ordine equestre del Santo Sepolcro di Gerusalemme e per lunghi anni presidente del Pontificio Consiglio delle Comunicazioni Sociali - offre un'analisi della realtà dei media statunitensi e indica l'esigenza di una nuova attenzione da parte della Chiesa al mondo dell'informazione nella società globalizzata.
(L'Osservatore Romano - 11 aprile 2008) Quanta parte della cultura statunitense è influenzata dalla televisione e, più in generale, dai mezzi di comunicazione?
"Ritengo che i mezzi di comunicazione sociale contribuiscano a determinare la cultura. Non solo la rispecchiano, ma la determinano. La cultura statunitense esercita una grande influenza su tutto il mondo a motivo della notevole diffusione che hanno programmi televisivi, film, musica statunitensi. Per questo, ho sempre pensato che se il nostro messaggio viene recepito dai produttori, dagli autori di film e di programmi televisivi, allora è possibile introdurre valori e temi più profondi nella società, non solo in quella americana. In questo senso, ho lavorato con i produttori di serie televisive per convincerli a dare più spazio ad argomenti che richiamino i sani valori morali. Alcuni programmi sono stati realizzati secondo questo criterio. Ho pensato che fosse un contributo molto importante. Non si tratta di programmi specificamente religiosi, ma in essi vengono affrontati temi morali".
Quindi lei ritiene possibile, attraverso la televisione e i film, orientare in senso positivo la cultura?
"Sono convinto che questi mezzi possano contribuire a cambiare le cose. Attualmente negli Stati Uniti esistono progetti validi in questo senso: a Hollywood, per esempio, c'è l'Act one, un programma che aiuta le persone a entrare nel mondo del cinema e a portarvi sani valori morali. Alcune di queste iniziative stanno dando buoni risultati. Vedono impegnate persone sensibili a questi valori. Non è certo un compito facile per loro, ma si tratta di uomini e donne altamente motivati. Ho avuto esperienza diretta di questa realtà tenendo incontri biennali a Hollywood con gli Screen writers guild e con altri gruppi. A ogni incontro partecipavano diverse centinaia di persone. Ponevano domande molto acute, manifestando un reale desiderio di produrre programmi di qualità - non di tipo predicatorio ma con contenuti moralmente validi - perché volevano veramente contribuire a cambiare le cose nella società".
Lei non è dell'idea che certe volte bisognerebbe spegnere la televisione?
"Assolutamente no. Non si può eliminare ciò che influenza la società. Una cosa che molti europei non comprendono è che, purtroppo, la religione non ha un proprio posto nei mezzi di comunicazione sociale americani. In altri tempi funzionava così: per ottenere una licenza dalla Federal communications commission, per la radio o per la televisione, bisognava garantire la produzione di un certo numero di trasmissioni di servizio pubblico, incluse quelle di tipo religioso. Le stazioni e le reti principali non vendevano spazi per la religione, ma li fornivano e ne pagavano anche i costi di produzione. Si è andati avanti così fino alla deregolamentazione della programmazione radiofonica e televisiva alla fine degli anni Settanta, quando è caduto l'obbligo di riservare una parte della programmazione al servizio pubblico e alla religione.
Oggi sulle principali reti televisive statunitensi l'unico programma religioso regolarmente previsto è la messa di Natale del Papa sulla Nbc. Prima invece c'erano programmi religiosi ogni domenica su tutte e tre le reti. Esisteva un consorzio formato dalla Chiesa cattolica, dal Consiglio nazionale delle Chiese e dal Comitato dei rabbini, che cooperava con le varie reti televisive per una programmazione prodotta dalle reti stesse e offerta alle affiliate locali. Era un vantaggio perché i programmi andavano in onda contemporaneamente in tutta la nazione, la domenica (o il sabato per gli ebrei). Le persone sapevano quando e dove trovare quelle trasmissioni.
Con la deregolamentazione della radio e della televisione, l'unico modo per poter essere presenti su queste stazioni è divenuto quello di acquistare spazi di programmazione. I gruppi protestanti fondamentalisti, che non appartenevano al Consiglio nazionale delle Chiese e che non avevano mai partecipato ai programmi prodotti su scala nazionale, hanno cominciato ad acquistare spazi di programmazione e addirittura a comprare stazioni locali. Quindi, con la deregolamentazione, l'unica presenza religiosa è rimasta quella dei predicatori fondamentalisti".
Il cardinale Foley
Che cosa ha fatto allora la Chiesa cattolica?
"La Chiesa cattolica non si è adeguata alla nuova situazione, ritenendo - insieme con le Chiese protestanti e con gli ebrei - che le stazioni avessero una sorta di obbligo verso di lei e che il governo dovesse in qualche modo esigere una programmazione religiosa di servizio pubblico. Ma sarebbe stato meglio essere più disponibili ad adattarsi alle nuove realtà.
E oggi qual è la situazione?
"Esistono ancora fondamentalisti protestanti che possiedono delle reti televisive. Producono programmi di qualità tecnica elevata, ma con accentuati contenuti fondamentalisti. Per quanto riguarda la Chiesa cattolica, bisogna ricordare che la Conferenza episcopale ha investito energie e risorse in un progetto - a mio giudizio non del tutto condivisibile - che non ha avuto esito positivo: l'acquisto di un canale nazionale, il Ctna, concepito come satellitare o via cavo, ma che sarebbe stato visibile solo negli uffici episcopali, affinché i vescovi potessero determinare quali programmi destinare alle stazioni televisive locali. Ho vissuto quella vicenda come membro del comitato per le comunicazioni sociali e in tale veste ho espresso le mie riserve sull'iniziativa, che poi di fatto è fallita. C'era dunque un vuoto, che è stato in qualche modo riempito da madre Angelica con il suo Eternal world television network.
Che cosa ha fatto madre Angelica per la televisione cattolica negli Stati Uniti?
"La rete satellitare di madre Angelica ha incontrato il favore di una piccola parte del pubblico. Un pubblico più vasto, per esempio, ha seguito le reti in cui era una volta presente il vescovo Fulton Sheen, le cui trasmissioni erano rivolte in generale a un uditorio più ampio per favorire la conoscenza del credo cattolico. Nel contesto della società americana potevano risultare utili anche ai protestanti e agli ebrei. In questo senso, esse costituivano una significativa opportunità di evangelizzazione. Madre Angelica, invece, ha esercitato un'influenza assai più limitata su quanti erano già convinti o su quanti desideravano vedere confermata la loro fede o, a volte, i loro pregiudizi. Ha avuto molto successo e ha fatto molte cose buone, ma la sua visione ecclesiale non è del tutto accettabile. L'ho incontrata quando voleva avviare una rete radiofonica internazionale a Roma e soprattutto direi che le sfumature non fanno parte del suo carattere. Ma senza dubbio ha fatto anche molte cose buone".
Come considera l'onnipresente rete?
"Internet è un'opportunità meravigliosa. Mi sono reso conto del suo valore alcuni anni fa e ho cercato di promuoverla soprattutto favorendo la creazione di un dominio per il Vaticano, il ".va" - che è di altissimo livello. Ricordo che l'International committee for the assignment of names ha opposto molte difficoltà a concedercelo. Sosteneva che avremmo dovuto usare i domini ".it" o ".org", ma alla fine la nostra battaglia per avere un dominio specifico che rispecchiasse proprio la particolarità della realtà vaticana ha avuto successo. È stato un risultato importante, perché allora c'erano siti che si definivano cattolici o persino vaticani, ma che in realtà non avevano nulla a che fare con la Chiesa: alcuni addirittura avevano contenuti immorali o anticlericali. Ora qualunque cosa abbia come dominio ".va" è di certo autentica e nessun sito può usufruirne senza esplicita autorizzazione".
Esigenze della comunicazione ed esigenze della Chiesa sono sempre conciliabili?
"Penso che a volte le esigenze dei mezzi di comunicazione sociale possano sembrare eccessive o irragionevoli agli occhi della Chiesa. Eppure sono convinto che non bisogna lasciarsi sfuggire le opportunità offerte. Occorre approfittare delle occasioni che ci vengono date per fare del bene e non avere un atteggiamento di timore, come invece accade talvolta nella stessa Chiesa. Dobbiamo essere aperti, onesti, anche se prudenti".
Pensa che i mezzi di comunicazione americani abbiano dato troppo rilievo agli scandali che hanno coinvolto una parte del clero statunitense, trascurando altri aspetti positivi del loro operato?
"È certamente un peccato il fatto che gran parte del bene che la Chiesa ha fatto venga trascurato a causa di questi scandali. Alcune persone sono pregiudizialmente ostili alla Chiesa, ma è anche vero che da noi ci si aspetta il bene. Un cardinale americano mi ha chiesto: "Che cosa possiamo fare per affrontare questa crisi?". Io gli ho risposto: "Virtù, e in assenza di virtù, candore, che è di per sé una virtù". Noi siamo chiamati ai massimi livelli di perfezione e quando tradiamo questa fiducia non possiamo certo cavarcela criticando i mezzi di comunicazione sociale. Può anche darsi che alcuni media provino gusto nell'offrire un'immagine della Chiesa come un idolo dai piedi d'argilla. Ma comunque il fallimento è stato nostro, non loro".
L'immagine che alcuni media propongono di Benedetto XVI continua a essere influenzata dal suo antico ruolo di Prefetto della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede?
"Uno dei compiti della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede è di indicare confini e limiti a una società che va estendendo in modo incontrollato e assoluto la sua libertà. E questa non è certo un'attività molto popolare. Joseph Ratzinger ha svolto questo compito per molti anni e ha cercato di valorizzarne soprattutto l'aspetto positivo, anche se poi sui media ha avuto eco soprattutto l'aspetto che potremmo definire negativo. Penso comunque che la sua azione sia stata molto efficace. Io ammiro il suo modo di parlare, di argomentare. È evidente che non solo crede in ciò che dice, ma sa spiegarlo molto efficacemente. Mi ha fatto sempre pensare all'immagine evangelica degli apostoli sulla via per Emmaus. Non ci ardeva forse il cuore nel petto - si dicevano - mentre ci spiegava le Scritture lungo il cammino? Ecco, credo che, ascoltando Benedetto XVI, avvenga una cosa analoga".
Un'altra tentazione ricorrente nei media è quella di paragonare la capacità comunicativa dell'attuale Pontefice con quella del suo predecessore.
"Benedetto XVI ha certamente un carattere più riservato. È un uomo di studio, una persona che non ama attirare l'attenzione su di sé. Desidera che al centro della comunicazione ci sia il messaggio e non il messaggero. E Cristo è, allo stesso tempo, il messaggio e il messaggero. Si può dire che Giovanni Paolo II abbia evidenziato l'aspetto più comunicativo del ministero petrino, mentre Benedetto XVI quello più meditativo, riflessivo".
Cardinal offers insight on church, media
Feb 04, 2008
The Vatican’s former head of communications preached the “good news” of media relations Friday night.
(Missourian, February 2, 2008) COLUMBIA — Cardinal John Foley spoke on the relationship between media and religion to a crowd of about 400 at the St. Thomas More Newman Center. Foley emphasized the importance of public relations in the Catholic church in communicating the news of the church to the media. He particularly stressed the need for an open and honest dialogue between the church and the media.
Cardinal John Foley built a good rapport with his mostly young audience at a master ...
“I would ask you in your communication efforts, share the good news of what is happening here and abroad,” Foley said.
Foley was the head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications at the Vatican until 2007. He coordinated media relations for Pope John Paul II’s funeral and the election and installment of Pope Benedict XVI. He also holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York.
During the 1960s, he covered Vatican II and later became editor of the Catholic Standard and Times, where he instituted a page that highlighted members of the Church who exemplify the doctrinal beliefs in their lives.
“I think people are always interested in people,” he said.
Foley said this type of coverage was vital to showing the positive side of the church and improving the church’s perception in today’s media coverage.
“I thought people needed good role models,” he said.
When asked by a member of the audience whether he felt the U.S. media was intentionally critical of the church, he said that in his experience that has not been the case. He said the church must always act with candor when dealing with the media, particularly when the news could paint the church in an unfavorable light.
The cardinal’s stance surprised some of those in attendance.
Elizabeth Freese, an employee at the State Historical Preservation Office, heard Foley’s distinct voice for the first time this past Christmas during his annual commentary on the pope’s Midnight Mass and wanted to see him in person.
“He made a really good point that the good that we do is never really talked about in the media,” Freese said.
Dick Hronick, a retired Jefferson City postal worker, said Foley’s remarks were more optimistic about the current media situation than he expected.
“I think that because of his position that the media might treat him with deference,” Hronick said. “I think that generally the media, at least more and more in the last few years, is being more antagonistic to traditional Christianity than his experience seems to indicate.”
Even so, he sees hope in Foley’s good experience with the media.
“I would like to think his experience is closer to the truth, and maybe people are looking for something a little more,” Hronick said.
Foley also spoke to the importance of teaching students and the public about the processes involved in news gathering and production in order to foster a more media-literate society.
“We should become intelligent consumers of the media and not just couch potatoes,” Foley said.
Tom Bander, a development officer at William Woods University, said he was grateful for the cardinal’s candor with the audience.
“I appreciated that he didn’t talk down to us or above us,” he said.
As part of his visit to MU, Foley also visited a public relations class at the MU School of Journalism on Thursday afternoon. He offered insight into managing large events from a strategic communication perspective and many anecdotes from his past experience with popes, presidents and senators.
Friday’s forum was the fourth installment of the St. Thomas More Newman Center Speaker Series.
Cardinal Foley Returns to Hawk Hill
Jan 30, 2008
Foley, '57, celebrates "Thanksgiving Mass" on campus.
(sjuhawknews.com, 1/30/08) One of Saint Joseph's University's most famous graduates returned to campus Sunday to celebrate mass with students, faculty, and fellow alumni.
His eminence, Cardinal John P. Foley, '57, led a special "Mass of Thanksgiving," just days after returning from a trip to the Middle East.
Flanked by 11 other St. Joe's priests, including Father Lannon, Cardinal Foley spoke fondly about his alma mater, and reflected on his experiences on campus as an undergraduate.
"I am very grateful for my vocation, which was preserved at Saint Joseph's University," he said.
The Chapel of Saint Joseph was filled to capacity for the 11 a.m. mass, where members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and graduates from the St. Joe's Class of '57 joined current students for the special event.
The Saint Joseph's University alma mater was selected as the opening hymn, and throughout the morning, the well-established Catholic traditions of St. Joe's shone through.
"It is very important that one of ours is now a Cardinal and coming back to say mass. There is symbolism in an alumnus like that returning to Saint Joseph's," said Fr. Lannon
Fr. Lannon stressed that Cardinal Foley's visit serves as yet another indication of the great tradition that has been established at St. Joe's.
"It started with the leadership of Father Rashford, and continued with the leadership we've had from trustees and alumni. The students love this place, and the alumni love this place," he said.
Cardinal Foley was, in fact, the catalyst for Sunday's mass, and recently began the entire process by contacting Fr. Lannon to offer assistance to his alma mater.
"Just after he was named a Cardinal, he called me and said that he wanted to help Saint Joseph's University in any way he could. I told him it would be wonderful for him to come say Mass here."
During the Mass, Fr. Lannon said that both he and the St. Joe's community were, "proud and privileged to call [Cardinal Foley] a son of Saint Joseph's University."
Many current students attended the mass as well, including Paul Crisafulli, '09.
"I've been going to mass here every week for three years, but this is the most special one I've been to," he said.
"It's real cool to know that someone so high in the church is a St. Joe's grad."
While on campus as an undergraduate, Cardinal Foley was deeply immersed in the St. Joe's community. He was active in a number of student organizations, and served as Student Body President before graduating summa cum laude, with a degree in history.
His Eminence was active within the church while at St. Joe's, attending Mass every day and serving the community on a weekly basis. Apparently, many of his classmates foresaw his future in the church, often referring to him as, "Your Foleyness."
Cardinal Foley's visit to St. Joe's came in the wake of a recent trip to the Middle East. He visited representing the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, a group dedicated to protecting the Christian minority in the Holy Land. Pope Benedict XVI named Cardinal Foley the Grand Master of the order in June 2007, only five months before he was elevated to Cardinal.
Cardinal Foley calls trip to Holy Land inspiring, informative
Jan 22, 2008
U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley said his first trip to the Holy Land as grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher was "both inspiring and informative."
VATICAN CITY (CNS, Jan-21-2008) -- While he was struck by the "very distressing" living conditions of Bethlehem's residents and the restrictions on some seminarians' freedom to travel, he was also touched by the enthusiasm and faith of the area's Christians, the cardinal told Catholic News Service Jan. 18.
His Jan. 7-13 trip to Jerusalem, the West Bank, Jordan and "all the major shrines" was "a great joy" and "very necessary for me in my new job."
Pope Benedict XVI named Cardinal Foley pro-grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in June. The chivalric organization is dedicated to supporting the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and to responding to the needs of Catholics in the Holy Land.
The 72-year-old Philadelphia native had not been to the Holy Land since 1977, he said, "and what a way to go as cardinal, I must say."
He met with numerous bishops, dignitaries, and local Christians and helped celebrate Mass at a number of venues, including at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which, the cardinal said, was a very moving experience "especially given my new job."
In meetings with local pastors, the priests "were very clear and forthright" in outlining what aid they had received from the chivalric order and what now were their most urgent needs, the cardinal said.
Their No. 1 priority, he said, was additional funding for Catholic schools.
"The cost of living is going up and they can't afford to give raises to the teachers," he said.
He said Catholic school officials "don't want to lose their teachers" -- some of whom are leaving to work in better-paid public schools.
The schools are crucial for helping the minority Christians "maintain a Christian identity," Cardinal Foley said. Since Latin-rite Catholics, Melkite Catholics, Greek Orthodox and even Muslims attend the schools, these institutions also foster understanding and peace in multifaith communities, he said.
Seeing how people in Bethlehem, West Bank, were affected by the Israeli security barrier "was very, very distressing," he said. Some people cannot access their land on the other side of the barrier, a series of concrete slabs and barbed-wire fences, and while Israeli settlements have sprung up on contested lands.
"They're very unhappy, Christians and Muslims alike," he said.
The cardinal said he was struck by how enthusiastic and strong in their faith the Christians of Zerka, Jordan, were. Meeting with and celebrating Mass for "the descendents of the first Christians" was very inspiriting, he said.
He said he also was impressed by "the quality of the students and enthusiasm" of the seminarians in Beit Jalla near Bethlehem, despite "the frustration of not being able to return home for Christmas." Visa restrictions had prevented nearly half the students from leaving the West Bank for the holidays, he said.
Terre Sainte : Entrée solennelle du cardinal Foley au Saint-Sépulcre
Jan 15, 2008
Une cérémonie sous le signe de l’œcuménisme.
ROME, Lundi 14 janvier 2008 (ZENIT.org) - Le cardinal John Foley, nommé par Benoît XVI Grand Maître de l'Ordre Équestre des Chevaliers du Saint-Sépulcre, a fait son entrée solennelle, lundi 7 janvier 2008, au Saint-Sépulcre, justement appelé par les Orientaux « basilique de la Résurrection ».
Comme l'indique le site Internet des Franciscains de la Custodie de Terre Sainte, les frères franciscains, gardiens des Lieux Saints, sont allés chercher le cardinal Foley en procession au Patriarcat latin.
Signe de fraternité œcuménique, le Grand Maître était entouré des pasteurs catholiques de Terre Sainte mais aussi de représentants des Églises orthodoxes en ce jour de leur Noël, et des Chevaliers de l'Ordre.
Le cardinal a été accueilli par le Custode de Terre Sainte, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, devant la fameuse « pierre de l'Onction ».
L'usage, précise la même source, veut que tout cardinal puisse demander à faire une entrée solennelle au Saint-Sépulcre, et a fortiori le Grand Maître de l'Ordre des Chevaliers.
Le Custode de Terre Sainte a été le seul, pendant des siècles, rappelle le site, à être en droit d'adouber les Chevaliers : la faculté en fut donnée au Custode par une bulle du pape de 1496 à 1847. Mais depuis 1847 ce rôle revient au patriarche de Jérusalem, le plus souvent au patriarcat, et, depuis 1932, il peut déléguer cette fonction à un autre cardinal dans le monde.
Le cardinal Foley a été ensuite accueilli par le patriarche de Terre Sainte, Mgr Michel Sabbah, devant le tombeau du Christ (dont l'authenticité est attestée par les meilleurs archéologues).
Le cardinal Foley l'a remercié, ainsi que les représentants des Églises orientales présentes, en leur souhaitant en grec un joyeux Noël.
Le lendemain matin, le cardinal Foley est revenu au Saint-Sépulcre, pour la messe chantée de 6 h 30, célébrée à l'intention des Chevaliers et Dames du monde entier.
Dans son homélie, toujours selon la même source, le cardinal Foley leur a souhaité de « grandir dans la foi et la sainteté mais aussi en nombre », de façon à « être plus nombreux à diffuser le message de la Terre Sainte et à tenir au courant le monde de la situation des chrétiens du pays ».
Le cardinal Foley a également remercié les Franciscains pour leur apostolat notamment dans les Lieux Saints et spécialement au Saint Sépulcre, les invitant à repousser « la tentation de la routine » : « Vous avez une vocation !», a-t-il dit d'une voix forte.
A l'occasion du pèlerinage du Grand Maître de l'Ordre Equestre du Saint Sépulcre, et grâce au travail du frère Michele Piccirillo, la Custodie de Terre Sainte vient d'éditer le registre de tous les adoubements de 1561 à 1847, avec les fac-similés de chaque page des archives franciscaines et leur transcription en caractère d'imprimerie.
Cardinal comes home to roost
Dec 13, 2007
The word gospel comes from the old English for "good news," and when it's the story of a Delaware County boy who goes to Rome, becomes a cardinal and gets a victory lap on the Main Line, you can book it.
(Philadelphia Daily News, Dec. 12, 2007) "It's sometimes nice to have good news to report," said newly minted Cardinal John Patrick Foley, a longtime priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, chatting with reporters yesterday at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary.
Last month, Pope Benedict XVI elevated Foley from archbishop to cardinal in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. This week, Foley is bringing the celebration back to Philly.
"I love Philadelphia and I still consider Philadelphia to be home," said Foley, 72, who has lived in Rome since 1984. He said he's impressed by how places like Fishtown, his father's former stomping grounds, are "now very trendy and fashionable."
Tomorrow night, he will celebrate Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul. Live video will be available on the archdiocese Web site, www.archphila. org.
Foley is a humble man, but the former editor of the Catholic Standard & Times admitted yesterday to getting a kick out of the recent articles chronicling his rise from Sharon Hill, Delaware County, to the Vatican.
"It's like being canonized without the inconvenience of dying," he said from his armchair at the seminary in Wynnewood, where he once taught metaphysics and ethics to aspiring priests.
"Thank you very much for your interest, for your support, for your kindness. It's more than I deserve, but I appreciate it," said Foley, former press liaison for Pope John Paul II. "Now, do you have any questions to which I can reply immediately, 'No comment?' "
For nearly 45 minutes, the cardinal fielded mostly softball questions, mixed in with a few hardballs, such as whether he would ever support women in the priesthood. He said he wouldn't, because it is "clearly not the will of Christ."
On the chances of his being named pope someday, he said it is "not even within the realm of possibility - if the cardinals know what they're doing."
And, for the record, it was on Christmas Day in 1952, Foley's senior year at St. Joe's Prep, when he decided to become a priest.
"I went back to the parish church and I knelt in front of the Christmas crib scene there, and I said, 'Lord, you've given me everything I have - my life, my family, my faith, my wonderful education - and I want to give it all back to you,' " he said.
"And that's when I decided to enter the seminary."
One On One With John Cardinal Foley
Dec 13, 2007
Philadelphia's newest prince of the Roman Catholic Church -- John Cardinal Foley -- is home for the first time since his elevation at the Vatican Thanksgiving weekend.
PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3, Dec 11, 2007) ― Cardinal Foley met with reporters on Tuesday and he sat down for an exclusive one on one conversation with CBS 3's Pat Ciarrocchi.
This is a homecoming for John Cardinal Foley. It was a week celebrating masses, meeting friends, even offering a blessing at City Council this Thursday morning.
"I always was inspired by the ceremonies here in this room by the mass of course; I really learned how to be a priest by the example of other priests," John Cardinal Foley explained.
Now, John Cardinal Foley is the example -- celebrating his first homecoming mass at St. Charles Seminary. The place his priesthood was formed in 1957.
"It's a life, I never viewed it as a career, you live the priesthood of Jesus Christ, that's just wonderful," John Cardinal Foley said.
John Cardinal Foley, at the age of 72, has reached a pinnacle. He received the Cardinal's red hat in November.
As a Cardinal, he is among the closest advisors to Pope Benedict.
"He's a gentle, kindly man, he's a master, it's a joy to see him work," John Cardinal Foley said.
Still, it's work challenged in the United States by the sex abuse scandal.
"Priests can lose their souls, even some priests whom I had taught and whom I never would have suspected of these things," John Cardinal Foley said. "How many lives have been irreparably damaged by this, it must be terrible to be abused by somebody in whom you have the utmost trust."
At the seminary, only young men prepare to be priests, but their numbers are dwindling each year.
When asked about women as priests, John Cardinal Foley said: "No, and that seems to be by divine law. This is a theological law that God has determined that men will be priests."
Women may not be permitted to be priests, but the new Cardinal said each one of us can be saints.
Cardinal Foley will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. and it is open to the public.
For Americans, becoming cardinal was 'on the edge' of happiest day
Nov 27, 2007
Kneeling before Pope Benedict XVI and becoming a cardinal was "on the edge" of being the happiest day in the lives of the two new U.S. cardinals.
VATICAN CITY (CNS, Nov-26-2007) -- Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston used the "on the edge" phrase Nov. 24, but said he had to be honest: "The happiest day of my life is the day as a bishop I ordained my first priest. No day will probably ever equal that."
Cardinal John P. Foley, grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, also used the "on the edge" phrase, but said, "the happiest day was my ordination as a priest. That's it. I keep saying that I have never had an unhappy day as a priest and I mean it."
The two new U.S. cardinals spoke to reporters immediately after the consistory and immediately before attending a reception in their honor at the Pontifical North American College, the U.S. seminary in Rome.
The mood was light-hearted; Cardinal DiNardo explained that he had hoped to be "very composed" when kneeling before the pope, but his new red zucchetto or skullcap kept slipping off. Cardinal Foley used the opportunity to thank the Catholic Press Association for the gift of his new red robes and asked, "Do I look all right, by the way?"
Cardinal Foley also said that he had the permission of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, to continue doing the English-language TV commentary for the pope's Christmas Mass at midnight.
"So, God willing, at Christmas you will hear the ghost of Christmas past," he told reporters.
Pope Benedict met Nov. 26 with the new cardinals, their family members and the pilgrims who came to Rome for the celebrations.
The pope asked the pilgrims to continue offering the new cardinals "friendship, esteem and prayers, helping them continue faithfully to serve the church and to offer an increasingly generous witness of love."
"As the new cardinals accept the burden of this office, I am confident that they will be supported by your constant prayers and your cooperation in their efforts to build up the body of Christ in unity, holiness and peace," the pope said.
At the North American College reception Nov. 24, U.S. seminarians served as ushers, bartenders and entertainers while thousands of U.S. pilgrims stood in line to congratulate the new cardinals.
Roberto and Mira Martinez of St. Mary's Parish in Texas City were part of the official Galveston-Houston pilgrimage.
When the trip was being organized, "I e-mailed my husband at work and said, 'Don't think I'm crazy, but we need to go to Rome,'" she said. "We are watching history and it's exciting to be a part of it. Someday our archbishop could be pope."
The receptions continued in the evening with the traditional "courtesy visits" to the new cardinals, stationed in various rooms of the Apostolic Palace, Vatican audience hall, governor's palace and the headquarters of the office responsible for the upkeep of St. Peter's Basilica.
Making the rounds in the Apostolic Palace, Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the two new U.S. members of the College of Cardinals were important and deserving.
"Cardinal Foley has been a faithful servant of the Holy See for many years," he said. "And Cardinal DiNardo represents an important area of growth of the church in our country."
Cardinal George said it was "very moving" to watch the new cardinals receive their red hats from the pope and "it reminded me of what the moment was supposed to be." He said he used the word "supposed" because the moment when he received his own red hat from Pope John Paul II in 1998 was so overwhelming that "I went through it on automatic pilot."
The Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, a chivalric and philanthropic order with special ties to the Holy Land, hosted another reception for Cardinal Foley Nov. 25 in its Rome headquarters.
Among the guests were Latin-rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem, who said he was pleased Pope Benedict has chosen Cardinal Foley to lead the knights and their efforts to assist Catholics in the Holy Land.
Charles J. Curry, a knight from San Antonio, said: "We are absolutely thrilled. Coming from Texas, we got doubly blessed" with both Cardinals Foley and DiNardo receiving red hats at the same ceremony.
"I know Cardinal Foley only by reputation and that is extremely positive," he said.
Several of Cardinal Foley's classmates from the Columbia University School of Journalism also were on hand, but the star among his peers was Henry Gibson, the comedian and actor currently appearing on the television series "Boston Legal."
Gibson said he and the cardinal have been "solid friends" since 1949 when they were classmates at St. Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia. They and three other classmates referred to themselves as the "Rat Pack" and were involved in the debate team, drama club and other activities.
The Land of the Free... and the Home of the Red
Nov 25, 2007
With today's elevation of Cardinals John Foley and Daniel DiNardo, the all-time number of US prelates added to the Roman clergy now stands at 46 since John McCloskey of New York received the red hat in 1875.
Whispers in the Loggia, Saturday, November 24, 2007
The Land of the Free... and the Home of the Red
With today's elevation of Cardinals John Foley and Daniel DiNardo, the all-time number of US prelates added to the Roman clergy now stands at 46 since John McCloskey of New York received the red hat in 1875.
The new additions, however, set a record -- 17 American cardinals in all, thirteen of whom may vote in a hypothetical conclave.
DiNardo is the first US cardinal under 60 and the first Italian-American to be named to the college since Roger Mahony and Anthony Bevilacqua respectively brought those distinctions to the table in 1991. Foley is but the second Curial "lifer" from the States to enter the papal senate -- and, just like Cardinal Francis Brennan (the longtime dean of the Roman Rota elevated in 1967) before him, he's a Philadelphian. The River City can now boast of four native sons who've ended up in red, while DiNardo's hometown of Pittsburgh has its second.
Immediately following the consistory, as the rain teemed outside, the American honorees were quickly hustled up the Janiculum Hill to a press conference at the Pontifical North American College, where the "private" afternoon receptions were held for a combined crowd numbering about 2,000.
The National Catholic Reporter's John Allen has rushed a transcript of the meeting -- most of which, in keeping with the exuberant feeling of the day, kept things quite light.
Opening Remarks by Cardinal John Foley: I’ve been told I’m supposed to go first. I think I can speak for Cardinal DiNardo in saying that we’re very grateful to our Holy Father for this great honor, not to us personally but to the church in the United States. We’ve been very well-received by our fellow members of the College of Cardinals, and many of the American members of the College are here today. As one who has worked with the media for so many years, I’m grateful and happy to see so many of you here. It’s a pleasure to see you. Thank you for all the kind things you’ve said about both of us in these days. I said to John Allen yesterday that it’s nice to be canonized without the inconvenience of dying! We’re very grateful for all of your kindness and thoughtfulness and support. We ask you for your prayers. I know that both of us will be available to you as much as we can in these days. Forgive me for asking to be seated at this time, but some bug struck me a couple days ago and I haven’t been in the best possible shape. I’m just trying to survive through the ceremonies. Thank you for your understanding and your patience. I now give you to the man who was my boss here in Rome a number of years ago as director of Villa Stritch, where I live, the residence for American priests who work at the Vatican. Cardinal DiNardo was so kind to me when I celebrated my 25th anniversary as a priest. He had a special dinner for me, and invited other people. He was always very gracious, very thoughtful, so God has rewarded him for his goodness!
Opening Remarks by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo: I think Cardinal Foley has spoken for us both in saying how grateful we all are, first to the Holy Father, and to God’s people. We’re both humbled too by receiving this title, this honor. I would want to add along with Cardinal Foley my gratitude to those of you here with the press. I especially want to thank the press from Houston, if you don’t mind a plug, because they’ve come here from the city of Houston. It is a distinctive honor for not just Texas, but the whole south of the United States, but certainly for Houston. I’m very proud that a cardinal from the south has been named. It’s an honor, a responsibility, and pretty humbling for this kid from Pittsburgh. I’ve been so warmly accepted by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and now to be selected to be a cardinal of the church. I’m delighted. It was a wonderful celebration today, beautiful words of the gospel, beautiful interpretation by the Holy Father today. Thank you.
Cardinal DiNardo, what did you think when the Holy Father put the biretta on your head?
I wanted to be very composed in terms of the sacred moment, but I have to admit at the very moment he put it on, my zucchetto was falling off. I had to push it back up. Once I stood up, he had a great smile when he said Pax Domini, “the peace of the Lord be with you.” That smile, that encouragement, were a great moment for me today.
Cardinal Foley, when you were the editor of the Catholic Standard and Times up there on the ninth floor of 222 17th Street, did you ever think you’d be wearing the red hat of a cardinal?
No, but I thank the members of the Catholic Press Association for having given me the clothes I’m wearing today! Is that your way of slipping that in? Bob Zyskowski is the President of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, and he worked for me in Philadelphia lo these many years ago, so he’s made good. Thank you. Do I look alright, by the way?
Both of you have given your lives to the church. Cardinal DiNardo first and then Cardinal Foley, would you say this is the happiest day of your lives?
DiNardo: It’s a very, very happy day of my life, but I’m going to be as frank with you as I can. The happiest day of my life was the day as a bishop I ordained my first priest. No day will probably ever equal that. I say that [because] it just simply affected me more than anything. But to receive this great title from the Holy Father … it’s really quite special. To have my family present, as well as the family of the church from Houston and Pittsburgh and Sioux City, made it an extremely fine, fine moment. So it’s on the edge of the happiest day of my life.
Foley: I also was on the edge of the happiest, but the happiest day was my ordination as a priest. That’s it. I keep saying that I’ve never had an unhappy day as a priest, and I mean that. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful blessing … including today!...
Cardinal DiNardo, as somebody who came into Texas from the outside, can you talk a little bit about what you’ve learned about Catholicism in Texas and the southwest, and what this day means for Catholics there?
Houston had half the number of Catholics twenty years ago that it has right now. There has been an incredible growth of various nations and peoples, plus people from other parts of the United States who have come in to the southwest, to the south, and specifically to the area around Galveston-Houston-Austin. They bring with them experiences of the Catholic faith, of their respective nations, which has been an enrichment to us. That’s particularly [the case] when you think of those from various parts of South America, and from the Pacific … Vietnamese, Filipinos, Chinese, Koreans. I see that as a great enrichment. What it has allowed us to do, but it’s also a challenge, is to see that the unity of faith can be maintained with a wide variety of cultures around. However, it requires purposive work to do that. The challenge I see in Houston is to celebrate the richness we have, with this great diversity and expressions of Catholicism. That’s also why I’m delighted that there’s a red hat. The unity of faith with the Holy Father is also extremely crucial if we’re going to keep all this working together.
I say this with great pride, that Houston to my mind in the Catholic church there strikes me as ‘happy chaos.’ It’s not the chaos of no one knows what’s going on, but the chaos of great enrichment. Coming from outside, I’ve been delighted and very impressed, particularly with the young people of the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Let’s not forget, may I also add, that there’s a rich tradition already in Houston of African-American Catholic culture, from Louisiana. That should be noted.
Cardinal Foley, you’ve been known as the voice of the Vatican through your Christmas and Easter commentaries during the televised Masses. Is there any way, with your new duties as a cardinal and with the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, that you’ll be able to continue that?
Foley: The Cardinal Secretary of State told me I could continue that, so God willing, at Christmas you’ll hear the ghost of Christmas past. By the way, not only that, but I had been previously invited to go to Houston for the dedication of their new co-cathedral and do television commentary for that. I said yes, and I’m going to keep that promise … whether he [DiNardo] wants me or not!
DiNardo: We always want you, Cardinal Foley. It’ll be good to see you, and to have a professional who knows what he’s doing.
Do you know when you’ll take possession of your titular churches, and do you know anything about them?...
Foley: My church is San Sebastiano al Palatino. It’s supposed to be the site of the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, who was first pierced with many arrows and nursed back to health. When they found he had been nursed back to health, they invited him again to worship the emperor, and when he refused to do so, he was beaten to death. His body was thrown into a drain right near where the titular church is. Then his body was taken out and buried at San Sebastiano on the Appian Way. So, San Sebastiano al Palatino is built on the site of the martyrdom, not where the saint is buried. It’s a very ancient church. It was redone in the 16th century, but it goes back much further than that.
The red hat goes to the pastor
Nov 25, 2007
Baseball manager Leo Durocher may not have meant the phrase "nice guys finish last" in quite the sense it's usually understood, but it nonetheless captures the reality that cut-throat tactics are often a more direct route to advancement than humility and kindness.
The red hat goes to the pastor
All Things Catholic by John L. Allen, Jr.
Friday, November 21, 2007
Baseball manager Leo Durocher may not have meant the phrase "nice guys finish last" in quite the sense it's usually understood, but it nonetheless captures the reality that cut-throat tactics are often a more direct route to advancement than humility and kindness. While things are supposed to be different in the church, that's not always the case, which is perhaps what makes the elevation of Archbishop John Foley to the College of Cardinals this Saturday especially satisfying.
I was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer Nov. 18 Nov. 18 calling Foley "the nicest guy in the Vatican," and I meant it. Formerly President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Foley is today the Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. While each of the 23 new cardinals who will receive the red hat on Saturday no doubt has a story to tell, I'm going to focus here on Foley because Americans who have lived in Rome can't help thinking of him in some sense as our local pastor.
Four qualities in particular, at least for me, stand out.
# A Pastor's Heart: Despite having served for a quarter-century in the Vatican, Foley has always seemed more at home in pastoral settings than in the corridors of ecclesiastical power. Foley is a regular at the Church of Santa Susanna, for example, the American parish in Rome, presiding over confirmations and celebrating Mass on special occasions. (Indeed, Foley is to be at Santa Susanna this Thursday to offer the annual Thanksgiving Mass.) Over the years, legions of people in Rome have stories to tell of times Foley helped them behind the scenes during periods of struggle.
Foley's legendary sense of humor is also part of his pastoral nature. He's a notorious punster; one example involves pointing to the pectoral cross hanging from his neck and asking someone in a mocking tone, "Are you jerking my chain?"
# Honesty: Journalists know that while Foley always takes phone calls, he doesn't always have the answers they seek. A typical Foley response to a delicate question goes like this: "I don't have any insider knowledge on that, and if I did, I wouldn't be able to tell you." That can be frustrating for reporters on deadline, but it reflects Foley's deep commitment to truth. He doesn't play the games that talking heads in other walks of life have honed to a fine art, leaving an impression of knowing more than he really does, or telling only half-truths intended to spin a story in a certain direction.
An anecdote makes the point.
In April 2001, Foley addressed a conference on social communications in Rome. Foley told the group that he had sometimes been asked to lie by church authorities, though not in his position at the Council for Social Communications. He said he has steadfastly refused.
Early in his career, Foley said, he worked as an information officer for the U.S. bishops' conference. In those days, reporters were not allowed into bishops' meetings and relied on Foley's briefings to know what was going on. During one closed-door session, Foley said, a bishop denounced ecumenism. Afterwards, another bishop asked Foley if he planned to tell the media about the remark. When he said yes, the bishop said, "What if I asked you not to?" Foley said he replied, "You would be exceeding your authority."
"Not only was what I was asked to do morally wrong; it was also dumb," Foley said. "The truth will always come out."
"Never, never, never tell a lie," Foley said.
# Loyalty: Aside from being a faithful friend on a personal level, Foley is also extraordinarily loyal to the institution he serves. That's all the more remarkable given that, if ever a Vatican official had good reason to grouse, he's it.
After being named President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in 1984, Foley watched eight consistories come and go, with 214 other men becoming cardinals while he never made the cut. There are, of course, plausible explanations for why he was not elevated -- a surfeit of Vatican cardinals, for one, and the lack of a precedent for a cardinal's red hat going with this particular job. (Foley's predecessor, Cardinal Andrzej Maria Deskur, also entered the college only after he stepped down.) That doesn't explain, however, why he was never promoted to a job with greater responsibility. Over the years, Foley acquired a reputation as the perpetual bridesmaid of the Catholic hierarchy.
Being passed over for advancement wasn't the only slight, intended or not. In February 2005, the talented Bishop Renato Boccardo was removed from the number two position in Foley's office and assigned to the Vatican city-state. It was clear that Pope John Paul II's declining health meant a conclave might be coming, so Foley wrote to the Secretary of State to point out that while other Vatican offices enter a "maintenance" mode when the pope dies, Social Communications goes into over-drive to deal with the avalanche of media interest. Despite that appeal, no new secretary was assigned, so Foley was left under-staffed when the time came. Even though he was technically out of office during the interregnum, Foley put in long hours, and he and his staff did a remarkable job keeping the media informed and organized.
One could go on cataloguing ways in which Foley was sometimes left out in the cold. Through it all, he never lost his sense of humor, and never betrayed resentment. One imagines that's part of the reason that Benedict XVI wanted to honor him this time around, not just by making him a cardinal, but by listing his name second, following only the former sostituto and current Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Leonardo Sandri.
# Humility: Foley's status as the president of a pontifical council would have justified the expense of separate lodgings in Rome, but over the years he has chosen instead to stay at the Villa Stritch, the residence for Americans working in the Vatican. He also drives himself to work, often stopping along the way to offer a lift to someone he knows. These are small gestures, but they reveal much about the man, who has never exploited the privileges of office in order to exalt himself.
Each year the North American College in Rome bestows an award upon an American churchman during its annual Rector's Dinner, and in 2004 the honor went to Foley. Instead of cataloguing his accomplishments or dropping names, Foley instead spoke directly to the seminarians that night, telling them that not a day has gone by during his career that he doesn't thank God for the gift of the priesthood. That's Foley in a nutshell -- at his core, he thinks of himself as a priest first, a potentate second.
On a policy level, one can certainly raise critical questions about Foley's 23-year tenure as the Vatican's point person on social communications. For the most part, they concern not so much whether his heart was in the right place, but his capacity to do the political heavy lifting necessary to shape institutional policy.
For example, after Pope Benedict XVI's 2006 lecture at the University of Regensburg, Foley candidly admitted that the episode, in which a passing reference to a 14th century Byzantine emperor triggered a global firestorm, illustrated the need to "foresee possible reactions" to papal statements, and thus to avoid language that might spark undesired blowback. When I asked if he felt the lesson had been learned, he replied: "It should be. Whether or not it has been, I don't know."
One might have justifiably protested, "But it's your job to know." For whatever reason, Foley was always better at modeling communications strategy himself than at bringing the institution along with him. (Granted, the latter task is difficult for anyone; even the more politically-minded Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the former Vatican spokesperson, could only make so much headway against an institutional culture than can charitably be described as "ambivalent" with respect to the press.)
In the end, however, what makes Foley remarkable is less about what job he holds, or how well he does it, than who he is. Few figures have ever succeeded at putting a "human face" on the leadership of the institutional church as well as John Foley. At 72, and in basically solid health, Foley can look forward to many more years of activity, and one hopes that Benedict XVI can find ways to use him as a "goodwill ambassador" for the Vatican and for Catholicism.
In the person of John Foley, Saturday's consistory marks a long-overdue triumph for the nice guys, and that alone makes the occasion worth celebrating.
Darby’s Foley set to become cardinal
Nov 18, 2007
Around the Vatican, where cardinals and bishops and even monsignors are known to assume patrician airs, Archbishop John Foley stays down to earth.
(Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 17, 2007) ROME - Strolling across the foyer of the Savoy Hotel, where he is about to address a conference, the Darby native says: "Let's wait here."
He slips inside a dim storage room strewn with suitcases and tablecloths and eases his ample frame onto a sofa.
Moments later, a porter enters and does a double-take. "No, no," the man says: A distinguished prelate does not belong here.
"I'm fine," replies Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a papal knighthood.
The porter departs with a baffled frown, and Foley laughs. "Maybe," he says, "he thought I was going to steal the luggage."
Affable, funny and unpretentious, Foley has worked 23 years in the Vatican, all the while standing apart from its gossipy politics and careerism.
And yet next Saturday, this former priest from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will enter the most elite rank of the Roman Catholic Church. In ceremonies at St. Peter's Basilica, the 72-year-old archbishop will kneel before Pope Benedict XVI, bow his head, and rise wearing the red hat of a cardinal.
The only son of parents who never finished high school, the Sharon Hill altar boy known as "Jack" will become a "prince of the church," one of just 120 prelates eligible to elect its next pope.
Foley was a Philadelphia Archdiocese priest and editor of its newspaper when he took charge of the Vatican's new communications office in 1984. Over time, said John Allen, a longtime Vatican reporter for the National Catholic Reporter, he "earned a reputation as the nicest guy in the Vatican."
It would prove an unusually long tenure - even by the Vatican's standards. He was the longest-serving head of any Vatican office when he stepped down in June.
To many of his friends back home, Foley's reward for that service felt long in coming.
"We used to tease him: 'So, John, what's up with that red hat?' " recalled Thomas H. Massaro, a former Philadelphia housing director. "And he would get all red in the face and say, 'Don't talk about that. I'm very happy.' "
It got so bad Foley once confided to Massaro that he was afraid to arrange papal audiences for his Philadelphia friends. "I'm just so worried they're going to blurt out, 'When are you going to give him a red hat?' "
Over a recent lunch at his favorite Rome restaurant, a 20-minute drive from St. Peter's, Foley smiled when reminded of that teasing. Climbing the hierarchy "was the farthest thing from my mind" when he entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, he said. "I never thought I'd be a cardinal."
It was a moment in the 11th grade, he recalled, that clinched his interest in the priesthood. He was teaching catechism to six children at St. Barbara's parish when one of the boys announced to the pastor, "We love Mr. Foley. He teaches us about Jesus."
"I realized that there was nothing more important than teaching people about Jesus," he said, his eyes turning misty. "I still get a little choked up about that."
Then-Archbishop John Krol launched him on a career as a journalist-priest shortly after Foley's ordination in 1962, sending him to Rome to cover the Second Vatican Council for the archdiocesan newspaper. In 1968, Krol, by then a cardinal, made him editor.
The two got on well. During a 1975 trip to Egypt, Krol asked Foley whether he should take a camel ride.
"If I were you, Eminence, I would not," Foley replied.
When Krol, wearing an Arabic head scarf, ignored the advice and got on the camel, Foley snapped his picture. Krol got teased after it appeared in newspapers, and demanded to know why Foley had taken the photo "when you told me not to do it."
"As your priest, I gave you my best advice," Foley replied. "As a journalist, I took your picture."
Krol understood, and on his recommendation Pope John Paul II in 1984 named Foley president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications at the Vatican.
The office's job was to explain church teachings to reporters and to promote moral values in TV, radio, advertising and film. Foley gave interviews and speeches, developed and circulated church documents on media ethics, and appeared on news programs speaking to the issues of the day.
He often joked that he turned on CNN every morning "so I know what to pray about."
His most controversial moment on the job came during his first year, when he described AIDS as a "natural sanction for certain types of activities." The pope later issued a statement reassuring homosexuals that the church loved them.
Foley was probably best-known to the American public as the cleric who narrated the papal Christmas Mass on NBC-TV.
"For me, it was never a career," he said, referring to his work at Social Communications. "It was always a vocation, responding to what God calls you to do. And he never calls you to compromise your principles."
His own operating principles were succinctly summed up in 2002, when Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles asked him how to cope with the exploding clergy sex-abuse scandal.
"Above all, virtue," Foley told the cardinal. "Absent virtue, candor."
In carrying out his duties, "Foley was never an insider, never a 'player,' because he didn't want to be," said American author David Gibson, a former reporter for Vatican Radio. "And that's to his credit."
Instead, Gibson said, Foley earned a reputation as "a man of such rectitude: a really nice guy who did his job every day."
Still, "his humility and lack of [political] ambition were also his biggest criticism," said Allen, of the National Catholic Reporter. He said Foley and his office had done little "to change the Vatican's culture of suspicion of the outside world - and especially the press."
Although Foley was ultimately an "outsider" within the Vatican's halls of power, Allen said, he greatly improved that institution's image in the eyes of the world.
And his popularity in the Holy City was easy to see, said Massaro, who recalled how it sometimes took Foley an hour to pass through a crowded St. Peter's Square "because so many people would stop to greet him."
And so it was as an esteemed archbishop that Foley supposed he would retire at 75 and return to Philadelphia.
Then a funny thing happened. In June, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, called him to his office.
"He said, 'The Holy Father has it in mind to make you grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre because -,' and here I stopped him," Foley said.
" 'There's no need to explain,' I said. 'I will do whatever the pope wants.' "
Bertone held his tongue for several minutes, then told Foley that Benedict "is giving you this job because he wants you to be a cardinal."
Founded as a military knighthood during the Crusades, the order has been led by cardinals ever since its revival in the 19th century as a charitable-fraternal organization.
Its 18,000 members around the world contribute annual dues of about $1,000, much of which is spent to create housing and jobs for the rapidly diminishing Catholic populations in Israel, Jordan and Palestine.
Foley's newfound eminence does not seem to have gone to his head. He intends to keep the same two-room apartment about five miles from the Vatican at the Villa Stritch, a residence where much of the American clergy in Rome live. "What more do I need?" he asked.
His new quarters as grand master are another matter, however.
The Order of the Holy Sepulchre is housed in the Palazzo della Rovere, a palatial, 15th-century villa two blocks from St. Peter's Square. The villa includes an audience room with a throne; long, gloomy rooms with frescoes; and coffered ceilings.
At the end of it all awaits the wood-paneled office of the current grand master, who works at a cluttered desk under a frescoed ceiling, watched over by the portraits of nine popes. To his right - testimony to the fact that this is a real job - glows a flat-screen computer.
His days start around 8:15, and might include - as they did one day recently - approvals for the expenditures of Holy Sepulchre projects in the Holy Land; acknowledgment of donations from the order's regional associations, or "lieutenancies"; a meeting with a delegation from Norway to create a lieutenancy there; and a speech at the Savoy Hotel.
Eschewing a lectern, Foley sat in a chair before the ecumenical group and soon had his audience laughing and nodding.
"Our lives should reflect what we believe," he said. "Living out our faith, never having to be hidden - that's what brings the greatest joy."
On the drive back to his office, he pointed out Mussolini's balcony, Napoleon's mother's house, and other sites before remarking: "You know, I've never had an unhappy day as a priest.
"There have been tense days, of course, but it's really been wonderful. I can't think of anything else I'd rather have been."
Amid the crowd in St. Peter's Square, new cardinal hears his name
Oct 18, 2007
U.S. Cardinal-designate John P. Foley, a Philadelphia native, was standing in the middle of St. Peter's Square among a sea of 30,000 pilgrims when Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal.
VATICAN CITY (CNS, Oct-17-2007) -- Though he knew the previous day he was going to be one of 23 people to receive a red hat, the Oct. 17 announcement was going to fall on the same morning he had a follow-up visit with his eye doctor.
"I didn't get back in time to be there at the beginning of the audience and I didn't have my glad rags on," meaning his formal clerical dress, so he said he just snuck inconspicuously into the middle of the crowd.
He told Catholic News Service he never expected to be the second new cardinal listed after the senior Vatican prefect, Cardinal-designate Leonardo Sandri.
When the pope "started the list there I was No. 2 on the list and that was a surprise," Cardinal-designate Foley said.
He said a pilgrim standing next to him asked him if he knew any of the men the pope had just named to be cardinal.
"I said 'Yes, I know quite a few of them.' And I said 'I am one of them,' Well, I don't think he believed me," he said laughing.
"What would I be doing standing out in the middle of St. Peter's Square, you know. But I thought it would be nice to hear the announcement anyway," he said happily.
The Columbia University journalism school graduate and former editor of The Catholic Standard and Times, Philadelphia archdiocesan newspaper, headed the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for 23 years. In June, Pope Benedict XVI named him pro-grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, a chivalric organization dedicated to supporting the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and to responding to the needs of Catholics in the Holy Land.
He turned many years of journalistic experience into a great asset for the universal church. His media-friendly style and quick sense of humor shine in person and throughout the numerous speeches and homilies he has delivered around the world.
This self-described "chocoholic" often speaks of the joys of working for the church, but tells his audiences that while the pay is not that great, "the benefits are out of this world."
Cardinal-designate Foley, one of 23 cardinals named Oct. 17 by Pope Benedict XVI, will receive his red hat in a Nov. 24 consistory at the Vatican.
His new post as pro-grand master has taken him out of the public spotlight -- he was known worldwide for his English-language commentary for major papal ceremonies. But he was still traveling the world promoting the church's mandate for using the media ethically when he delivered an Oct. 11 address to advertisers in Oslo, Norway.
Cardinal-designate Foley urged his audience to plug their products for the common good and appealed for major reform of campaign financing legislation, including in the United States. He asked that candidates be able to advertise and "present their message without financial contributions corrupting or co-opting them."
In June, when he left his communications job, Cardinal-designate Foley told Catholic News Service he hoped he had accomplished two primary goals: "First, that the church recognize the importance of the media for communicating the good news of Jesus Christ"; and second, that church leaders understand "the communications media are not threats, but opportunities."
He has said he loved being able to merge his love for God and the media.
"In my work as a priest and as an archbishop, I am able to do two things I love very much: to be active in communications and to tell people about Jesus," he said in May 6 commencement address to students at the University of Portland, Ore.
Under his leadership, the social communications council issued separate documents promoting ethical standards in advertising, communications and on the Internet. Another council document denounced pornography.
When the Vatican started to investigate the possibility of going online, Cardinal-designate Foley lobbied tirelessly for the Holy See to be given its own top-level domain.
"We were first told that we should be part of .it for Italy; I told them we were surrounded by It; that in another sense, we were It, but we were not in It."
After refusing to settle for .it and .org, he succeeded in getting the Vatican the top-level domain of .va.
"For us that is very important because you can be sure that anything coming from .va is authentic ... material from the Vatican and the Holy See," he said in a May 10 speech to former classmates from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.
Born in Darby, Pa., Nov. 11, 1935, he was ordained a priest in Philadelphia when he was 26 years old.
He served as assistant pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Havertown, Pa., and later at St. John the Evangelist Church in Philadelphia, starting in 1966.
Cardinal-designate Foley said his experience in journalism dated back to the seventh grade when he started writing radio plays on the lives of saints. As a teen, he was also asked to be an announcer for Sunday morning programming on then-station WJMJ, now WNWR, in Philadelphia.
His re-launched his radio career in 1966 as co-producer and co-host of the Philadelphia Catholic Hour on WFIL radio.
Cardinal-designate Foley also appeared on television during his college years in a weekly college debate program and later co-produced a 20-program televised series on "The Making of a Priest."
Between stints as assistant editor of The Catholic Standard and Times in the 1960s, he conducted his graduate studies in philosophy in Rome, where he also served as a journalist covering the news from Rome and the Second Vatican Council, 1963-1965.
In 1970, he was appointed editor of The Catholic Standard and Times until 1984, when Pope John Paul II appointed him head of the Vatican body for social communications. He was ordained an archbishop the same year.
Cardinal-designate Foley has received numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the Catholic Press Association's highest prize, the St. Francis de Sales Award.