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Impact of Pope Francis 'unimaginable,' Cardinal Mahony says

March 14, 2013 |  7:54 am

Cardinal Roger Mahony said in a televised interview the impact new Pope Francis will have on the world is "unimaginable."

Despite being rebuked recently by Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez for his handling of sexual abuse cases, Mahony participated in the conclave that elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as the 266th Roman Catholic pope.

“It’s unimaginable, the impact that this is going to have across the world, in particular, of course, obviously, Latin America," Mahony told KCBS-TV Channel 2 in Rome shortly after Francis greeted cheering crowds in St. Peter’s Square.

FULL COVERAGE: The papal conclave

"It’s the first time we’ve ever had a Southern Hemisphere pope," he continued. "It’s the first time we’ve ever had a Latin American pope. It’s just extraordinary, extraordinary."

Following the release of documents showing Mahony and Bishop Thomas Curry worked to shield child-abusing priests from police, Gomez removed Mahony from all public duties. In the CBS2 interview, the former Los Angeles archbishop defended his actions.

“Much of the criticism comes from ignorance of not knowing what has happened, I mean, the extraordinary efforts we’ve taken,” Mahony said. “We’ve passed every compliance audit with flying colors. And I dare to find somebody who can tell me, ‘What have we not done yet?’ Please let me know, and we’ll do it.”

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-- Cindy Chang

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