This post was published to In Principio erat Verbum at 8:16:50 AM 10/17/2007

College of Cardinals…the ultimate Red Hat Society!



At last today, the Holy Father announced his latest round of “red hats” that will be conferred in the next consistory in November. Of course, with many years of expectation and hopes, our own Archbishop John P. Foley has been designated for creation into the College of Cardinals. Congratulations to His Eminence John Cardinal Foley on the announcement of his creation as a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. His Eminence Cardinal Foley is the fifth Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary graduate to be elevated to the Sacred College since Overbooks inception 175 years ago.

As a Professor of Ethics and Metaphysics, His Eminence Cardinal Foley embodied all of the qualities and characteristics of a deeply faith orientated Thomistic scholar. Throughout the various semesters that then Msgr. Foley taught classes at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary he was perpetually a “man in motion”, not only with his domestic Seminary responsibilities, but also in his involvement with the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, as editor of our favorite newspaper, The Catholic Standard and Times, as English speaking press liaison for the Holy See and other responsibilities too many to name. He was and is always the consummate gentleman in every aspect of his priestly and professional responsibilities.

I have been fortunate to become associated with then Father Foley since 1975, when I was picked to represent Bishop Neumann High School as part of a panel hosted by WCAU TV 10 in Philadelphia at the Joel Spivak Show. The topic of discussion was regarding the possibility of the ordination of women. Father Foley was the representative of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at this televised panel discussion. I don’t believe this author ever had the opportunity to offer a comment regarding the issue for discussion; however Father Foley illustrated in concise theological terms the erroneous thought that accompanied the issue of the ordination of women and clearly upheld the Church’s teachings of sacramental tradition on that matter. In later years, as one of his students, I would always ask Msgr. Foley…do you know what ever became of Joel Spivak? His response was always one of a quiet smile with a hint of underlying apologetical satisfaction.

As a professor, it was difficult to follow the globetrotting activities of our quasi-international ethics and metaphysics professor. Some days in class, other days out with the papal entourage of John Paul II, but always keenly concerned about the proper education and happiness of his students at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. After almost 30 years I still refer to the text books used in Msgr. Foley’s classes as pillars of moral certitude in a world of potentially immoral chaos.

In 1984 when Msgr. Foley was appointed an Archbishop, it was also time for my institution to the Ministry of Acolyte. As a matter of chance and pure luck, Archbishop Foley’s Episcopal ordination took place a few days before the scheduled institution to the Ministry of Acolyte. The Seminary administration decided to utilize the services of a “new archbishop” on the faculty, and Archbishop Foley was the celebrant of the Liturgy for the Institution in May of 1984. As it happened, that was the first exercise of his Episcopal ministry during that ceremony. I am particularly proud to recall the event not only because it was a day in my happy seminary memories, but also because it was a “first” for my newly consecrated former professor, and a shadowing of a successful career at the Vatican that was ahead of him.

One cannot speak of His Eminence Cardinal Foley without remembering the true affection and devotion he had for his mother the late Regina Foley. She was present quite a few times at events at the Seminary and was always a quiet inspiration to both her son’s priesthood, and a sort of “grandmother figure” for all of us at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. Prayers and warm best wishes to the memory of this delightful woman, as her son is elevated to the College of Cardinals.

Overbrook now is able to boast 5 graduates that were elevated to the College of Cardinals. Such success is a compliment not only to the academic excellence of the institution, but to the quality of its students and graduates. Congratulations to His Eminence, John Cardinal Foley on a long awaited and well deserved recognition of your fidelity and obedience to the Universal Church. This author is extremely happy to have known you as a Seminary professor and globe trotting Archbishop. Ad Multos Annos!

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