Archbishop Chaput has been picked to replace Cardinal Justin Rigali. . Chaput former Archbishop of Denver, Colorado, takes his new post in Philadelphia at the behest of Pope Benedict XVI following the resignation of Cardinal Justin Rigali five months after the Philadelphia scandal broke.
However, that does not necessarily mean that Chaput will be made Cardinal. Rigali will maintain his voting status in the College of Cardinals, and that means Chaput may have to wait for the red hat. Chaput (pronounced sha-Pew) is considered by many to be a conservative Vatican hardliner.
For the past five months, Cardinal Rigali has been dogged by claims that he may have protected questionable priests. In February, a grand jury report alleged that as many as 37 priests who had been accused of abuse were still in active ministry. The report also charged several other priests or former priests in a sex abuse scandal.
Joe Murray, Executive Director of the Rainbow Sash Movement believes Chaput “may have been chosen because of his orthodoxy rather than his ability to administer. Pope Benedict is concerned that US Conference of Catholic Bishops is getting to strong and Philadelphia is a major Archdiocese in the US, and the Pope wants to make sure it remains red. Cardinal Regali is a orthodox leader and obviously this did not mitigate the clergy sexual abuse scandal in Philadelphia.
Murray said The archbishop has been frequently tapped by the Vatican to investigate internal church problems. It is a profile that could serve him well in Philadelphia, where a grand jury accused the archdiocese of a widespread cover-up of sexual abuse and indicted a top church administrator.
In the past 10 years, the Vatican has appointed Archbishop Chaput to serve on three high-profile investigations, known as visitations: of American seminaries in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal; of the Legion of Christ after the group’s founder was discovered to have sexually abused seminarians, fathered children and embezzled money; and, most recently, of Bishop William Morris of Australia, who had said publicly that the church should consider ordaining women and married men (the investigation resulted in his removal).
The Archbishop is known for being very political, and clearly his appointment is an indication that Pope Benedict XVI wants to the Church more actively involved in the cultural wars that are deeply dividing the nation. While Chaput was the Archbishop of Denver he excoriated Catholic politicians — including John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi — for supporting abortion rights, saying that they offer a “dishonest public witness.” He helped defeat legislation that would have legalized civil unions for gay couples in Colorado. And he condemned the University of Notre Dame, a Catholic institution, for granting President Obama an honorary degree in 2009 because of his stance on abortion.
He also represent a minority position in the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that believes Communion should be withheld from any politician who would support a pro-choice , Gay Marriage, or Stem Cell Research positions.
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