Cardinal John P. Foley, a jovial, popular priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who rose from working-class roots to become a “prince of the church” and the Vatican’s longtime spokesman on Catholic social teachings, died Sunday. He was 76.

Once described as “the nicest guy in the Vatican” by the National Catholic Reporter, Cardinal Foley had suffered in recent years from leukemia. He died at Villa St. Joseph, the archdiocesan home for retired priests in Darby, the town where he was born.

Citing fatigue and declining health, he returned to the archdiocese in February after four years as Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a papal knighthood based in Rome.

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