A US Catholic group has called for an American cardinal accused of covering up sexual abuse by priests not to take part in electing a new pope, saying he would taint the new pontiff with the same scandal that dogged Pope Benedict XVI.
As of Tuesday, the group Catholics United had gathered more than 5,000 signatures against Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles until 2011.
“Please do not bring further scandal to our Church that has already been rocked by the sex abuse crisis by attending the
Papal Conclave. You have been disciplined and you have lost your ability to have a voice within our Church,” said the petition from the Washington-based group.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Vatican journalist Alessandro Speciale said it is up to Mahony to examine his “conscience” and decide if he wants to participate in the conclave.
That will be easy for him – he hasn’t got one.
Although his successor, Archbishop Jose Gomez, removed him from all public and administrative duties, Mahony has announced his intention to fly to Rome where he would be among 117 cardinals allowed into the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel to vote for the next leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.