Pope accepts Philadelphia archbishop's resignation

July 19, 2011 - 5:14 AM
Italy Pope

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during the Angelus prayer at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, in the outskirts of Rome, Sunday, July 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — 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.

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.