Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Philly's new archbishop faces big challenges

Philadelphia's new archbishop is Denver's Bishop Charles Chaput, very conservative, recently in the news for being involved in "visitations" to the Legionaires of Christ and the Australian Bishop who was forced to resign. There are lots of newspaper accounts this morning (July 19). Here is one from Jan Ransom of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Update: The Vatican officially announced this morning that Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has been named the new archbishop of Philadelphia.


Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, who will take over the beleaguered Philadelphia Archdiocese, will face a roster of daunting challenges.

Dozens of suspended priests are being investigated for sex crimes, a high-ranking church official has been charged with child-endangerment and four others, including a schoolteacher, have been charged with sexually assaulting minors after a damning grand-jury report blasted the Archdiocese for a widespread coverup of predatory priests.

These are just some of the many woes Cardinal Justin Rigali's successor will have to deal with, besides six civil lawsuits and a budget deficit.

Below are some of the items that should be at the top of Chaput's to-do list:

* Actively address decades of systematic negligence, assist victims and deal with predatory priests.

"One, [Chaput] must immediately reach out to victims and deal with litigation," said blogger Michael Sean Winters, who first reported Rigali's resignation on the National Catholic Reporter's website. "The other part is a long-term project to restore self confidence of the demoralized clergy."

* Restore the public's trust in the Church. The grand-jury report blasted the Archdiocese for failing to investigate claims of sexual abuse.

"[Chaput] must fire people, anyone who ignored and concealed sex crimes," said David Clohessy, National Director for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. "That's the single quickest and safest way to send a very clear signal."

* Take a stand on suspending the window in statutes of limitations.

A bill introduced by state Rep. Mike McGeehan, D-Phila., would give child sex-crime victims a two-year window to bring civil charges against offenders who currently can't be charged due to the statute of limitations. Another bill, introduced by state Rep. Louise Williams Bishop, D-Phila., would end the statute of limitations on criminal and civil lawsuits for child sex abuse.

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