The career of Philadelphia Archbishop Rigali

AP News
Posted: Jul 19, 2011 1:00 PM
The career of Philadelphia Archbishop Rigali

Timeline of the career of outgoing Philadelphia Archbishop Justin Rigali.

1935 _ Born in Los Angeles, the youngest of seven children.

1961 _ Ordained a priest.

1970-1994 _ Holds various positions with the Vatican, including secretary to the College of Cardinals and translator for popes Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II. Ordained a bishop in 1985.

1994 _ Installed as archbishop of St. Louis.

April 2002 _ Philadelphia grand jury begins investigating alleged abuse by priests in the archdiocese.

October 2003 _ Installed as archbishop of Philadelphia and elevated to rank of cardinal.

September 2005 _ Philadelphia grand jury documents assaults on minors by 63 priests since 1967 and alleges two former archbishops covered up the abuse. Archdiocesan attorneys call the report a "vile, mean-spirited diatribe"; Rigali calls the report "very painful to read" but says the findings were "unjustifiably critical" of the archbishops.

September 2006 _ Victims of priest sexual abuse address hundreds of Roman Catholic priests in a private meeting convened by Rigali, who says it's important for clergy to hear the stories firsthand.

April 2008 _ Rigali celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Philadelphia archdiocese.

February 2009 _ Opens five-year, $200 million capital campaign to raise funds for improving parish life and facilities and making Catholic education more accessible.

April 2010 _ Per canon law, Rigali submits his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI on his 75th birthday, but the pontiff does not act on it.

December 2010 _ Following numerous parish school closures and declining enrollment, Rigali forms a 17-member commission to find a strategic plan to "assure the sustainability of Catholic education in this archdiocese."

February 2011 _ A second Philadelphia grand jury finds that 37 priests remain in active ministry despite credible allegations of sexual abuse. The report results in unprecedented criminal charges against a onetime high-ranking church administrator for allegedly transferring predator priests to new parishes without warning.

March 2011 _ Rigali suspends 21 priests pending investigations. He says several others were either previously suspended, on leave, no longer in active ministry, or had cases that did not warrant further scrutiny.

May 2011 _ Ana Maria Catanzaro, chairwoman of a lay review board tasked with investigating priest abuse claims in Philadelphia, says Rigali and his bishops "failed miserably at being open and transparent." She says officials were more interested in protecting the church than getting rid of pedophiles.

June 2011 _ Rigali mandates additional training for all archdiocesan employees to help them identify and report suspected child exploitation.

July 2011 _ Pope Benedict XVI accepts Rigali's resignation as archbishop of Philadelphia.