Birmingham’s retired bishop battling cancer

Details: 

Retired Bishop David Foley, former head of the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham from 1994-2005, has been battling cancer, the diocese announced today.

Foley, 88, was hospitalized on Feb. 25. He had preached that Sunday morning in the Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Adamsville.

“It has just been discovered and he has been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive malignancy,” Bishop Robert J. Baker said in a statement released today. “This is a very rare form of cancer originating in bone marrow precursor cells that is highly aggressive and unresponsive to chemotherapy. It has taken some time for his doctors to come to this diagnosis and has involved consultation with other, nationally-recognized cancer centers.

“Bishop Foley had previously been diagnosed with Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia, another uncommon malignancy of the bone marrow, for which he has been undergoing continuous treatment with chemotherapeutic agents for the past six months. In view of this most recent diagnosis, which carries a poor prognosis and for which effective treatments are not available, Bishop Foley and his physicians have determined that any treatment would be futile and would neither prolong his survival nor provide him benefit.”

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Birmingham, of course, is home to Mother Angelica’s EWTN.

More on the bishop’s background:

Foley was ordained a priest for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington on May 26, 1956.

He was appointed by Pope John Paul II the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond in Virginia on May 3, 1986. He was consecrated on June 27, 1986.

Pope John Paul II later appointed Bishop Foley the third Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama on March 22, 1994. He was installed as Bishop of Birmingham on May 13, 1994.

He retired on May 10, 2005, and was then elected Diocesan Administrator on May 19, 2005.

In 1999, Bishop Foley issued a decree prohibiting priests in his diocese from celebrating Mass in the pre-Vatican II ad orientem position (literally “to the east”, with people and priest facing in the same direction) under most circumstances. Though the decree never specifically mentioned the Catholic television network, EWTN, which studios are located in the Diocese of Birmingham, both supporters and critics of EWTN agreed that it was directed at Mother Angelica‘s network.

Pray for him and all those who love him.


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