ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – A former St. Louis archbishop has retired amidst accusations of involvement in a sex abuse cover-up.
Cardinal Justin Rigali has headed the archdiocese of Philadelphia since 2003, but before that he was archbishop of the St. Louis archdiocese for nine years. The Vatican says Rigali’s retirement is for age reasons.
Rigali submitted his retirement to Pope Benedict XVI on his 75th birthday – the required age by church law. Now 76, Rigali’s retirement was accepted this morning by the pope.
Rigali’s treatment of the church’s sex scandal in Philadelphia has been under scrutiny for several years. In 2005, a grand jury charged that he and his predecessor both hid complaints of sex abuse in Philadelphia parishes.
Rigali is best remembered in St. Louis for orchestrating the city’s visit from Pope John Paul II in January 1999, when the pope was on his way back to the Vatican from Mexico. Though retired, as a cardinal Rigali will be able to vote for the next pope until he is 80-years-old.
Copyright KMOX Radio.