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Catholic group petitions Mahony not to attend papal conclave

Cardinal Roger MahonyA Catholic organization has delivered a petition with thousands of signatures asking Cardinal Roger Mahony to recuse himself from the conclave in Rome that will select the next pope.

The group, Catholics United, collected nearly 10,000 signatures making "a simple request" that the former archbishop of Los Angeles not participate in the process because of the priest abuse scandals that happened under his watch, said Chris Pumpelly, communications director for Catholics United.

The petition was delivered Saturday to St. Charles Borromeo in North Hollywood, where the cardinal resides. It was accepted by a church staff member.

Pumpelly said that the conclave offers "an opportunity for healing in the church" and that having someone like Mahony, with his complicated history, runs counter to that.

"This is one thing that would cast a cloud of scandal and shame over the conclave," Pumpelly said of the participation of Mahony and others connected to priest abuse scandals.

Last month, the archdiocese stripped Mahony of his public duties amid revelations that he plotted to conceal child molestation by priests from law enforcement.

But he is still set to be one of the 117 cardinals who will take part in the conclave, the sequestered process through which the Catholic Church selects its pontiff.

Mahony wrote on his blog that he looked forward to "traveling to Rome soon to help thank Pope Benedict XVI for his gifted service to the Church, and to participate in the Conclave to elect his successor."

After delivering the petition, organizers attended Mass at the parish to pray for healing and for the future of the church.

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-- Rick Rojas

Photo: Cardinal Roger Mahony prays during a Mass for Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in 2005. Credit: Pier Paolo Cito / Associated Press

 
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