BY | February 25, 2013

Los Angeles cardinal Roger Mahony has been asked by people and NGOs of all sort not to take part in forthcoming Pope elections

( Roman Catholic activists in the United States on Saturday urged Cardinal Roger Mahony to recuse himself from taking part in electing a new Pope so as not to insult survivors of sexual abuse.

A large number of children were abused by priests when he was Archbishop of Los Angeles for a quarter century.

On Saturday the activists delivered a petition with nearly 10,000 signatures to the North Hollywood church where Cardinal Roger Mahony resides.

“It’s a total slap in the face to victims to think (Mahony) can cover up 25 years of child sex abuse and then go prancing off to Rome like a prince of the (Roman Catholic) Church,” said Joelle Casteix, western regional director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

According to church files unsealed under a US court order last month as Archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 until 2011, Mahony worked to send priests known to be abusers out of state to shield them from law enforcement scrutiny in the 1980s. In 2011 he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 for bishops and on March 31, 2011 was succeeded by Jose Horacio Gomez.

Only a few days back, that is January 13, 2013, his successor, Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez, officially relieved him from all public and administrative duties. However, Mahony has announced his intention to be among 117 Cardinals allowed into the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel to vote for the next Pope.

In California, outside the St Charles Borromeo Church, where Mahony is in residence, activists held up signs reading, “Respect the victims. Honor the church. Hold leaders accountable.”

Said Chris Pumpelly, a spokesman for Catholics United, a non-profit organization: If Mahony were to vote, “it would be a step backward. It would be a validation of the old ways.”

It was unclear whether Mahony was at the church at the time, or if he would receive the documents before he left for Rome.

According to the Los Angeles Times on Saturday, Mahony was deposed for more than three hours about his handling of sex-abuse cases. It was the first time he was asked about the church files unsealed last month.

Influential Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana, or “Christian Family,” has also questioned whether Mahony should be part of the conclave. Many readers responded online that he should not.

On Friday, Mahony took to Twitter to repeat his intent on voting: “Just a few short hours before my departure for Rome. Will be tweeting often from Rome, except during the actual Conclave itself. Prayers!”


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