Retired nun 'sad' that Cardinal Mahony will vote on next pope
As surprise washed over Catholic parishioners Monday after the resignation announcement by Pope Benedict XVI, retired nun Mary Dispenza was left saddened that Cardinal Roger M. Mahony will have a hand in picking the pontiff's successor.
Mahony, who was stripped of his public duties last month following new disclosures in the priest sex-abuse scandal, says he will travel to Rome to vote on the next pope.
“Cardinal Mahony still has his powers under the church’s law,” said Dispenza, who received a 2006 settlement from the archdiocese over claims of molestation by her parish priest in the 1940s.
"It is a sad commentary that he walk into Rome and cast his vote despite his behavior," she said. "But church law is that way."
Bill Bisson, a parishioner at Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Pasadena since 1952, said he was surprised on Pope Benedict’s resignation.
He considered the pope an “academic and intellectual” who will now have the unique opportunity of having an influence on his successor.
He was matter-of-fact about Mahony’s involvement in choosing the next pope.
“Clearly Mahony will be there to vote, as is his right as a cardinal,” Bisson said.
Larry Loughlin, 77, a social worker, said “I guess you cannot take that away” when asked about Mahony’s involvement.
"I think it is reasonable that Cardinal Mahony votes despite his recent loss of public duties."“Mahony,” he added, “is not the only cardinal to be accused of protecting priests. It is a worldwide crisis.”
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Cardinal Roger Mahony officiates during Ash Wednesday services at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in 2006. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press