Friday, February 03, 2006

Foley Under the Knife

Reports have just come in that Archbishop John P. Foley, Rome's favorite Philadelphian and president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, underwent surgery to remove a kidney at 3pm today Rome time, 9am on the US East Coast.

A tumor had apparently been located on the kidney, and the first word around Rome is that the tumor has, gratefully, been found to be benign.

The archbishop, who turned 70 last November, has been reported to be "looking older" in recent months. Foley -- who has a degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York and is best known to the wider audience as the English-language commentator for the Pope's Christmas Midnight Mass -- has long been known for his vigor, good humor and lively spirit among both his fellow clerics and his fellow journalists who know him to be a trustworthy guide and always armed with a good quote and pithy insight.

For just short of a year now, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which the archbishop has headed since 1984, has operated without a secretary, its #2 official, since Bishop Renato Boccardo was transferred to the Governatorato last 22 February.

This lengthy vacancy has led to wide speculation that Social Communications will become the point-office for a beefed-up Vatican press and communication operation in the "massive" curial reconfiguration, which sources expect to be coming in April. It is also said that this will (finally) ensure that Archbishop Foley will get a red hat, becoming the fourth native of Philadelphia to enter the College of Cardinals.

We love Foley back here, he's the best of this town and his reciprocal love for Philadelphia has remained strong and clearly visible through the years. I'm praying for his quick and complete recovery, and I ask all of you to join me in that.