Reporting Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – All eyes will be on the Vatican early tomorrow morning, as reports in Catholic media — and now in the Philadelphia Daily News — say Cardinal Justin Rigali will step down as Philadelphia’s archbishop.
The reports suggest the Vatican announcement could come tomorrow (see related story), and follows the priest sex abuse scandal in the archdiocese.
KYW Newsradio‘s Mark Abrams looks back on the career of the man who has led the 1.5-million Catholics in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for the past eight years.
Cardinal Justin Rigali came to Philadelphia from a posting in St. Louis in 2003. He was named the 12th bishop and eighth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by Pope John Paul II, who also made him a cardinal.
Rigali, who grew up in the Los Angeles area, spent the majority of his priesthood as a Vatican insider. He worked in a variety of roles for three popes in the Holy See for some 33 years before being named the archbishop of St. Louis in 1994.
When Rigali came to Philadelphia, a secretly-convened grand jury was already in the process of investigating clergy sex abuse and the findings presented in 2005 were exhaustive.
Rigali put several reforms into place after the grand jury’s findings were released, hired an advocate for victims, and pledged to pastorally deal with the crisis.
But a second grand jury report, issued a few months ago, cited Rigali for failing to heed the recommendations of the first panel and pointed out several shortcomings in the process of dealing with victims, lawyers and priest offenders.
Rigali suspended 21 priests accused of sexual misconduct shortly after the second grand jury report. He also hired a former sex abuse prosecutor in the Philadelphia DA’s office to handle investigations of clergy abuse cases.
Reported by Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio 1060