Pope Officially Accepts Rigali's Resignation

The resignation comes amid accusations of a long-running priest sex abuse scandal.

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Philadelphia archbishop Justin Rigali, sending him into retirement as the archdiocese faces accusations that it covered up a long-running priest sex abuse scandal.

The pope has named Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput to succeed him, according to the Archdiocese. He will be installed as the Archbishop of Philadelphia on September 8, 2011. Until then, Cardinal Rigali will remain in command.

The brief Vatican announcement Tuesday 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 he has been under pressure for his handling of the scandal. A 2005 grand jury report charged that Rigali and his predecessor hid credible sex-abuse complaints made against dozens of
Philadelphia priests.

The Philadelphia Archbishop will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday to announce his resignation.

Following Cardinal Rigali's announcement, both he and Archbiship Chaput will hold mass at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. The noon mass is open to the public.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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