UPDATE: Rigali resigning; Chaput to Philadelphia

UPDATE: The Philadelphia Inquirer is now reporting that Rigali has indeed resigned and, further, that Charles Chaput, the current archbishop of Denver is going to take his place. Winters at NCR had Chaput on his short list, though Winters did not see his appointment as preferable (unless I am misreading him).

Chaput seems like an odd choice for this particular assignment; he is not particularly known for a pastoral touch–and that's what Philadelphia is going to need.. He is a bishop in the vein of Chicago's Cardinal Francis George–more confrontational as well as intellectual. In fact it seems likely–though this is pure speculation–that George had a hand in Chaput's "promotion."

What I think is most likely is that Chaput would have gone to Philadelphia anyway; Rigali is 76, past the age of retirement, and Chaput is only 66 and looked to be a likely candidate for see whose bishop usually ends up being a cardinal.

ORIGINAL POST: Michael Sean Winters over at NCR has claimed in July 14 blog post that the embattled archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Rigali, could soon find himself out of a job to be replaced by one of four current bishops.

Who knows if anything will come of it, but the past six months have been bruising for the church of Philadelphia–by which I mean the people of God there who have to put up with such poor leadership on sex abuse that it may have descended to the criminal. If Rigali goes it will be good news on two fronts: first, that a bishop who failed so egregiously to ensure that his diocese followed its own guidelines regarding sex abuse allegations actually gets the boot; and second, Rome is taking more seriously demands from the church–again, I mean the people of God–to relieve them of such incompetent leadership.

I wrote in my August column that Rigali would manage to survive; I would be happy to be wrong on that count–and delighted if Bishop Finn of Kansas City, Missouri, would follow Rigali out the door.

Related: Bishops could learn from politicians who resign

The word from Rome: Bishops, prepare your sex abuse guidelines

Yet another new wrinkle in clergy sex abuse

The buck stops where? Sex abuse and the bishops


About the author

Bryan Cones

Bryan Cones is a writer living in Chicago.