Meet the New Archbishop

Charles Chaput is moving from Denver to Philadelphia to take over for Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali.

The Archbishop of Denver, Colorado, Charles Chaput, has been announced as the successor of Philadelphia Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali at a press conference on Tuesday.

During the press conference, the new Archbishop promises to help sex abuse victims by working harder than anyone to heal “the sins of the past” as he takes over an archdioceses rocked by two grand jury reports that accuse the church of hiding sexual abuse complaints for years.

But what else do you need to know about the incoming Archbishop? Here’s some background on Chaput, according to the Archdiocese of Denver:

  • Charles Chaput was born on September 26, 1944 in Kansas. He is of Native American decent. In fact, he was the second Native American to be ordained bishop in the United States, and the first Native American archbishop.
  • He attended the St. Francis Seminary High School before he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, St. Augustine Province a few years later.
  • Chaput is well-educated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, a Master of Arts in Religious Education and a Master of Arts in Theology.
  • He was ordained into the priesthood on August 29, 1979.
  • Seven years later, Chaput became pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Thornton, Colorado. Three years after that, he became chief executive and provincial minister.
  • Archbishop Chaput was ordained Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota in 1988.
  • In 1997, Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Denver.
  • In 1999, Archbishop Chaput founded St. John Vianney Theological Seminary.
  • Assisted by his Auxiliary Bishop José Gomez, Chaput founded Centro San Juan Diego to meet the pastoral and educational needs of the growing Hispanic community in Colorado.
  • He also co-founded the national Catholic Association of Latino leaders and helped in the founding of ENDOW and Augustine Institute, a lay-run graduate school.
  • Chaput has served and continues to serve on multiple boards over the years.
  • On July 19, Chaput was named the ninth Archbishop of Philadelphia, following Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali.

According to reports, Chaput is known for being an outspoken conservative and has even written a book on Catholic involvement in politics called “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life,” in which he urges Catholics to take a more active role in the political process.

Archbishop Chaput will take over for Rigali on September 8, 2011.

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