Pope Accepts Philadelphia Archbishop’s Resignation
Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Philadelphia archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali on Tuesday, sending him into retirement as the archdiocese faces accusations that it covered up a long-running priest sex abuse scandal.
The pope named conservative Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput to succeed him.
The brief Vatican announcement said the resignation of the 76-year-old Rigali was for reason of age. He submitted it on his 75th birthday in April 2010, as required by church law, but the pope did not immediately act on it.
But the Cardinal has been under pressure for his handling of the sex-abuse scandal. In his eight-year tenure, a pair of grand jury reports, one in 2005 and one released in February, have rocked the archdiocese by accusing church officials of covering up abuse allegations against priests.
February’s scathing report resulted in unprecedented criminal charges against a former secretary of clergy for allegedly transferring pedophile priests without warning new parishes.