PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Sources tell KYW Newsradio that the resignation of Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali will be accepted by the pope tomorrow, and a successor named (see related story).
One leading candidate is currently the Archbishop of Denver.
Archbishop Charles Chaput, a Native American, has a reputation as a conservative, according to Michael Sean Winters, columnist for the National Catholic Reporter. With a strong record on child protection, he is seen as a counterweight to Cardinal Rigali, criticized in grand jury documents on priest sex abuse.
But Winters says Chaput (pronounced “sha-poo”) is also a culture warrior.
“If he is the choice, you could say the pope wanted a kind of ‘pugnacious’ personality in Philadelphia. Maybe that’s because he feels he wants somebody who’s going to go in, really rattle the cage of the chancery, and say, ‘How did you let this mess happen?’ ”
Winters says that Chaput, if appointed, would be expected to start by cleaning up the priest child sex abuse mess.
“I just worry that once the sex abuse crisis is dealt with and there are settlements and they round the corner, I wonder how Archbishop Chaput will deal with some of the broader cultural issues facing the Church in Philadelphia.”
For example, local politicians who are simultaneously pro-choice and Catholic. Winters sees the potential that Chaput would begin to enforce church teachings on abortion in a town with a huge Democratic majority and many pro-choice politicians.
Reported by John Ostapkovich, KYW Newsradio 1060