The official announcement is expected tomorrow morning. The new Archbishop’s welcome wagon basket is chock full of grief. I won’t begrudge him a cheese steak, but then it’s time to get down to business. The faithful have laid out a to do list that can’t wait.
1. Protect our children.
2. Renew the Catholic Church in Philadelphia.
3. Help give victims of clergy sex abuse every opportunity for justice.
It’s that last one that might be tricky for Archbishop Chaput. While he removed those suspected of clergy sex abuse in Denver, he was very much against the removal of the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse in Colorado. The 2011 Grand Jury recommended its removal here in Pennsylvania. The PA Catholic Conference, headed by Cardinal Rigali, has worked against the removal.
Regarded as a conservative, the first Native American Archbishop has been outspoken on Church-State matters. That seems a good fit for Philadelphia, the most conservative diocese in the country.
Archbishop Chaput is said to be an adept administrator who respects the role of the laity. He speaks plainly and reaches out to the faithful. Chaput will be the first Bishop of Philadelphia since Prendergast (our third) who has served as a pastor. The clericalism that has historically plagued Philadelphia may soon subside under his leadership.
I am cautiously optimistic there may finally be an opportunity for the laity to be heard. Maybe our voices will even reach Rome.
What do you think?
Read more here.
“Denver Bishop to Replace Cardinal Rigali,” by David O’Reilly, The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 18, 2011