John Patrick Foley (November 11, 1935 – December 11, 2011) was an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. From 2007 until 2011, he was Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, an order of knighthood under papal protection, having previously served as President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications from 1984 to 2007. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2007. He provided the commentary for the American television viewers of the Christmas Midnight Mass from St Peter's Basilica, Rome. However, in 2009, he retired from that role after 25 years. The commentary has been taken over by Monsignor Thomas Powers of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, an official in the Congregation for Bishops.
Pope Benedict XVI, accepted Cardinal Foley's resignation as Grand Master on Thursday, February 24, 2011, due to age (on November 11, 2010, the Cardinal had turned 75, the age at which all bishops must write a letter to the Pope formally offering to resign) and because of ill health (the Cardinal was diagnosed in September 2009 with leukemia and anemia). He had led the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for 23 years, from 1984 to June 2007, when he was appointed Grand Master, and had been a consultor or member of many Curial departments. At one time he was editor of The Catholic Standard and Times, the newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He had met with Pope Benedict XVI on February 10, two days after submitting his resignation letter to the Vatican Secretary of State.
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