It appears Philadelphia Catholics are going to have a new spiritual leader. While the Archdiocese is not commenting, the change could be announced Tuesday.
Cardinal Justin Rigali is 76 years old and submitted his resignation just over a year ago when he reached the church’s default retirement age. Blogger Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter broke the story that the Vatican will now accept Rigali’s resignation. He said there are four candidates to replace him.
“Wilton Gregory, the Archbishop of Atlanta, if it is him, that is a clear signal from the Vatican that they are deadly serious about rooting out the sex abuse problem,” said Winters. “If it is Archbishop Kurtz, he is from Allentown, he want to St. Charles Borromeo seminary in Philadelphia. If it is the other two candidates, Archbishop Chaput or Bishop Lori you get a little bit more of a bomb-thrower.”
Winters said the next Bishop has some healing to do with both priests and Catholics in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. In January, a Philadelphia Grand Jury report accused the Archdiocese of failing to investigate allegations that priests sexually abused children. Five men, including a former high-ranking priest in the diocese, are being prosecuted for abusing children or failing to stop abuse by others.