Charles Chaput

Archbishop Chaput Celebrates Final Sunday Mass in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput celebrated his final Sunday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul in Center City

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Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput has celebrated his final Sunday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul in Center City.

"I'm very grateful for all those who have supported me," Chaput said.

During the service, parishioners rose from the pews with applause for Chaput.

"I thought it was beautiful and I think he'll be missed," Eileen Heiler told NBC10.

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In January, Pope Francis named Nelson Perez the next archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Perez, 58, will be installed on Tuesday. He will be the first Hispanic archbishop in the history of the Philadelphia Catholic Church.

Chaput arrived in Philadelphia in 2011. He presided over consolidation as a number of parishes closed due to declining numbers and financial problems.

The appointment of Perez – a relative national newcomer – marks a shift in ideology not only in the Philadelphia Church but in the United States. Chaput is a prominent conservative in America's Catholic Church who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011 and is admired by the conservative wing of the church. He has reportedly at times not seen eye to eye with all of Pope Francis' stances, the New York Times reported.

Philadelphia's Catholic community is preparing for the installation of new Archbishop Nelson Perez,. NBC10's Miguel Martinez-Valle discusses Perez's background and worshipers' reaction to retiring Archbishop Charles Chaput.

Chaput, a member of the Cappuchin order, has denied he is a critic of Pope Francis, and he hosted the Argentine pope when he visited Philadelphia in 2015 for a big family rally. The visit, including a Mass that drew a reported 1 million people, gave Francis a much more positive impression of the U.S. than he had going into the trip.

But the two clashed. After Francis opened the door to letting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion in 2016, Chaput closed the door in Philadelphia by saying they must abstain from sex if they want the sacrament.

Chaput also faced the difficult task of trying to restore credibility in the Philadelphia hierarchy following revelations of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up by his predecessors that were revealed in 2005 and 2011 grand jury investigations.

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