Made public this morning from Rome was the latest move in Pope Benedict XVI’s gradual rearrangement of the Vatican Curia. Longtime President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop John Patrick Foley has been named to head the worldwide Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
As the Grand-Master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, the Pennsylvania-born Foley will take over a role held until 1949 by the Pope himself and will be charged with caring for the temporal and spiritual needs of the Order’s members who aim at fostering growth in their own Christian lives, preserving and spreading the faith in Palestine, and defending the rights of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land.
Foley had served as the head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications since 1984 and has long been known as the Vatican’s “Voice of Christmas,” due to his English-language narration of the Christmas Eve Mass, which began early in the Pontificate of John Paul II.
Taking over for Archbishop Foley will be Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, a nearly 66 year-old Italian prelate who had served since 1995 as Secretary for the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.
The mandatory resignation of Foley’s immediate predecessor as pro-grand master, Cardinal Carlo Furno, was belatedly accepted by Pope Benedict as Cardinal Furno approaches 86 years of age.