Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Philadelphia archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali on Tuesday, sending him into retirement as the archdiocese faces accusations that it covered up a long-running priest sex abuse scandal.
The pope named Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, of the U.S. bishops conservative wing, to succeed him.
The brief Vatican announcement said the resignation of the 76-year-old Rigali was because of his age. He submitted it on his 75th birthday in April 2010, as required by church law, but the pope did not immediately act on it.
Rigali has been under pressure for his handling of the scandal. A 2005 grand jury report charged that he and his predecessor hid credible sex-abuse complaints made against dozens of Philadelphia priests.
After eight years under Rigali's leadership, the archdiocese is defending unprecedented criminal charges filed against a former secretary of clergy for allegedly transferring pedophile priests without warning new parishes.