Outspoken U.S. prelate retires: Cardinal James Francis Stafford steps down from Vatican post as Penitentiary Major

The Vatican announced on June 2 that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of 77-year-old Cardinal James Francis Stafford, the former Archbishop of Denver, from his post as Penitentiary Major. He will be replaced by Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli, the current apostolic nuncio to France. As head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Cardinal Stafford has dealt with matters related to sin, mercy and forgiveness. The Penitentiary is one of the three tribunals within the Holy See, and according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, is divided into two sections. The first section deals with the granting of indulgences, while the second is dedicated to resolving sins reserved to the pope and matters of conscience forwarded to the Holy See.