Reports: Cardinal Justin Rigali ready to resign

Since the release of Philadelphia’s report on sexual abuse by clergy five months ago, Cardinal Justin Rigali has been under fire for failing to stop the abuses over the long period they allegedly took place.

New reports, first by the National Catholic Reporter late last week than locally yesterday, including a front page story by the Daily News, claim that Pope Benedict XVI is going to accept Rigali’s resignation and replace him with a new leader of the Philadelphia Archdiocese as soon as today. No reports have been confirmed.

Canon law asks Cardinals to give a letter of resignation at age 75; the pope can choose to refuse it. Rigali, 76, has been head of the archdiocese for the last eight years.

Several candidates have been named by the National Catholic Reporter and other websites as possibly Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Colo., Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., and Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta.

The Vatican has made no official announcement and spokespeople for the Archdiocese did not return calls for comment yesterday.

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