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Justin Francis Rigali

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His Eminence 
Justin Francis Rigali
Cardinal Archbishop of Philadelphia
Justin cardinal rigali.jpg
See Philadelphia
Enthroned July 15, 2003
Reign ended incumbent
Predecessor Anthony Bevilacqua
Ordination April 25, 1961
Consecration September 14, 1985
Created Cardinal October 21, 2003
Other Archbishop of St. Louis (1994-2003)
Apostolic Administrator of Scranton sede vacante (2009-)
Personal details
Born April 19, 1935 (1935-04-19) (age 81)
Los Angeles, California
Nationality United States
Denomination Roman Catholic
Residence Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Styles of
Justin Rigali
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Philadelphia

Justin Francis Rigali (born April 19, 1935) is an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the eighth and current Archbishop of Philadelphia, having previously served as Archbishop of St. Louis from 1994 to 2003. Rigali was elevated to the cardinalate in 2003.

Early life and career

The youngest of seven children, Justin Rigali was born in Los Angeles, California, to Henry Alphonsus and Frances Irene (née White) Rigali.[1] Two of his siblings entered the religious life as well; his sister Charlotte joined the Sisters of St. Joseph, and his brother Norbert the Jesuits.[2] Rigali attended Holy Cross School before entering the preparatory seminary in Hancock Park in 1949.[2] He studied philosophy and theology at Los Angeles College, Our Lady Queen of Angels Seminary in San Fernando and St. John's Seminary in Camarillo.[1] He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal James Francis McIntyre on April 25, 1961,[3] and then did pastoral work in Los Angeles and Downey.[2]

In 1961, Rigali earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree from the Catholic University of America, where he is now a member of the Board of Trustees. In October of that year, he entered the graduate division of the Pontifical North American College in Rome, later obtaining a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1964.[1] He was also an assistant during the first two sessions (1962-1963) of the Second Vatican Council.[4] Rigali briefly returned to the United States in the summer of 1964, during which time he served as an associate pastor in Pomona.[2] Returning to Rome, he then studied at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy from 1964 to 1966 in preparation for his diplomatic work for the Vatican.

Rigali began his service in the English section of the Secretariat of State on November 25, 1964.[4] From September 1966 to February 1970, he was secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature to Madagascar, which also served as the apostolic delegation for the islands of Réunion and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. He was named a Papal Chamberlain on July 11, 1967. On February 11, 1970, Rigali became director of the English section of the Secretariat of State and the English translator to Pope Paul VI, whom Rigali subsequently accompanied on several international trips.[4]

During his service at the Secretariat of State, Rigali was also a chaplain at a Carmelite monastery and a professor at his alma mater of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.[2] He accompanied Pope John Paul II on a number of international pastoral visits, including his first two journeys to the United States in 1979 (which included a trip to Rigali's future see of Philadelphia) and 1987. He was made a Prelate of Honor of His Holiness on April 19, 1980, and a magistral chaplain in the Order of the Knights of Malta on October 25, 1984.[4]

Episcopal career

On June 8, 1985, Rigali was appointed President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and Titular Archbishop of Volsinium by John Paul II.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 14 from John Paul himself, with Archbishops Eduardo Martínez Somalo and Achille Silvestrini as co-consecrators, in the cathedral of Albano.[3] He selected as his episcopal motto: Verbum Caro Factum Est, meaning, "The Word Became Flesh" (John 1:14). He became a member of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre on October 13, 1986.[4]

From 1985 to 1990, in addition to his role of President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, Rigali held a number of positions within the Roman Curia, serving in the Secretariat of State, Council for the Public Affairs of the Church, Congregation for Bishops, and Pontifical Council for the Laity.[1] He was named Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops on December 21, 1989; as Secretary, he served as the second-highest official of that dicastery under Bernardin Cardinal Gantin. Rigali was later made Secretary of the College of Cardinals on January 2, 1990, and served on the Permanent Interdicasterial Commission, Pontifical Commission for Latin America, and Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. During the same time, he was also engaged in pastoral service to a number of parishes and seminaries in Rome.[1]

Archbishop of St. Louis

On January 25, 1994, John Paul II named Rigali the seventh Archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri. Succeeding Archbishop John L. May, he was formally installed by Cardinal Gantin on March 15 of that same year.[3] The newly-installed Archbishop became a member of the Knights of Columbus on November 7, 1994. During his tenure at St. Louis, once known as the "Rome of the West," Rigali showed a great interest in schools, visiting every high school in the archdiocese.[5] However, he opposed collective bargaining by teachers, and opposed any efforts they made to organize. He was widely credited as an able administrator and effective fundraiser, although his popularity dimmed as his tenure continued.[5]

In January 1999, Archbishop Rigali hosted the pastoral visit of Pope John Paul to St. Louis, the only such visit to a single diocese in the United States during the pontificate.[5] The Pope reportedly decided to be hosted by the Archdiocese of St. Louis because of his friendship with Rigali.[5]

Archbishop of Philadelphia

Rigali was later appointed the eighth Archbishop of Philadelphia on July 15, 2003.[3] He replaced the retiring Anthony Bevilacqua, who praised his successor as "a man...known for his loyalty to the Holy Father and for his unwavering fidelity to the teachings of the Church."[6] Prior to Rigali's installation in Philadelphia on October 7, 2003, it was announced on September 28 that he would be elevated to the College of Cardinals, a customary privilege for the archbishops of Philadelphia. He was created Cardinal Priest of S. Prisca by John Paul in the consistory of October 21, 2003.

Rigali was the only American cardinal to serve as a concelebrant at the 2005 funeral mass for John Paul II. He was also one of the cardinal electors who participated in the ensuing papal conclave, which selected Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Rigali remains eligible to vote in any future conclaves that begin before his 80th birthday on April 19, 2015.

In September 2005, Rigali became embroiled in the scandal surrounding accusations of pedophilia and sex with minors among clergy (see sexual abuse scandal in Philadelphia archdiocese). In September 2007, he was named by Pope Benedict XVI as a member of the Congregation for Bishops, the curia department that puts forward to the Pope the names of those considered to be appropriate choices to be appointed as bishops.

On August 31, 2009, Rigali became the Apostolic Administrator sede vacante to the Scranton See following the Pope's acceptance of the resignations of Most Rev. Joseph Francis Martino, Bishop of Scranton, and Most. Rev. John M. Dougherty, Auxiliary Bishop of Scranton.


Gay marriage

In June 2006, Rigali traveled to the White House along with Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark and Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley of Boston to attend a press conference by President George W. Bush to support a constitutional amendment initiative in the U.S. Senate banning gay unions or marriages.


As chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Pro-Life Committee, he remarked during the annual Washington, D.C. pro-life rally in January 2007 that "there are reasons for rejoicing" in the pro-life cause: the growing participation by young people and a heightened awareness of the issue's intense and growing moral sensitivity among them, who will eventually have a contribution to make to societal issues. He has publicly endorsed the Pregnant Women Support Act, which he praised for offering "an authentic common ground" that "will proved many kinds of life-affirming support for pregnant women and their unborn children."[7]

He was the principal celebrant at the Vigil Mass for the March for Life on January 21, 2009.[8]

He said that the decision by the University of Notre Dame to have President Obama deliver the commencement speech at its graduation ceremony and receive an honorary degree was "most unfortunate" and the reasoning behind it "evades common sense."[9]

Conscience rights

In November 2009, Rigali signed an ecumenical statement known as the Manhattan Declaration calling on evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox not to comply with rules and laws forcing them to accept abortion, same-sex marriage and other matters that go against their religious consciences.[10]

Stem cell research

In March 2009, he described President Barack Obama's lifting of George W. Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem cell research as "a sad victory of politics over science and ethics."[11]

Ordination of women

In April 2009, he denounced the ordination of two women in Roxborough to the priesthood and the diaconate, calling the ceremony a "pseudo-ordination" that "denigrates the truth entrusted to the Church by Christ himself."[11]


He has a weekly series of Lenten discourses on YouTube.

Episcopal Succession

Template:Infobox Episcopal Succession/bishopconsecrated11Template:Infobox Episcopal Succession/bishopconsecrated12
Episcopal Lineage
Consecrated by: Pope John Paul II
Date of consecration: September 14, 1985
Consecrator of
Bishop Date of consecration
Edward Kenneth Braxton May 17, 1995
John Raymond Gaydos August 27, 1997
Michael John Sheridan September 3, 1997
Joseph Fred Naumann September 3, 1997
Timothy Michael Dolan August 15, 2001
Robert Joseph Hermann December 12, 2002
Lawrence Eugene Brandt March 4, 2004
Joseph Robert Cistone July 28, 2004
Joseph Patrick McFadden July 28, 2004
Kevin Carl Rhoades December 9, 2004


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali Biography". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali Biography". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Justin Francis Cardinal Rigali". 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Miranda, Salvador. "RIGALI, Justin Francis". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "1994-2000: A New Springtim of Faith". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Louis. 
  6. [1]
  7. [2]
  8. [|Westen, John-Henry] (22 January 2009). "Philadelphia Cardinal Rigali Warns of "Eternal" Consequences of Abortion at March for Life Mass". LifeSiteNews. Retrieved 08 February 2009. 
  9. Gilbert, Kathleen (2009-04-28). "Exclusive Interview: Cardinal Rigali Says Notre Dame Defence of Obama Honor "Evades Common Sense"". 
  10. Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Cardinal Rigali Says Obama Stem-cell Policy Favors Politics Over Ethics". Catholic New York. 2009-03-12. 

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John L. May
Archbishop of Saint Louis
Succeeded by
Raymond Leo Burke
Preceded by
Anthony Bevilacqua
Archbishop of Philadelphia

Template:BishopsofPhiladelphiacs:Justin Francis Rigalila:Iustinus Franciscus Rigalino:Justin Francis Rigalipt:Justin Francis Rigali ru:Ригали, Джастин Фрэнсис fi:Justin Francis Rigali sv:Justin Francis Rigali

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