Philadelphia archbishop expected to retire, Chaput to replace

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 19, 2011 8:08 AM
Philadelphia archbishop expected to retire, Chaput to replace

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA, July 19 - Cardinal Justin Rigali, whose leadership of the Philadelphia Catholic archdiocese has been tainted by a continuing church sex scandal, is expected to announce his retirement on Tuesday.

The archdiocese website announced early in the morning that he is to be replaced by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, 66, who has been archbishop in Denver since 1997.

Chaput is an American Indian, who will follow two Italian-Americans who have led the Philadelphia archdiocese for decades.

Rigali, 76, archbishop here since 2003, has been struggling to contain the pedophilia scandal in the wake of a Philadelphia Grand Jury report issued at the beginning of this year. Three priests, a monsignor and a church teacher were indicted as a result of the report.

"We would have assumed," said the grand jury in a report, "by the year 2011, after all the revelations both here and around the world, that the church would not risk its youth by leaving them in the presence of priests subject to substantial evidence of abuse. That is not the case."

The grand jury said that it found 37 such priests who have been kept in assignments that exposed them to children.

Of that number, 21 were suspended after the report, and three more were placed on administrative leave.

The Philadelphia archdiocese is the sixth largest in the United States, with just under 1.5 million Catholics, compared to the 344,000 Catholics in the Denver archdiocese.

(Editing by Jerry Norton)