Cardinal Mahony says Vatican told him to attend papal conclave
Responding to protests over his attendance at the conclave in Rome to elect a new pope, Cardinal Roger Mahony told Catholic News Service this week that the Vatican told him to come to Rome and participate.
“Without my even having to inquire, the nuncio in Washington phoned me a week or so ago and said, ‘I have had word from the highest folks in the Vatican: You are to come to Rome and you are to participate in the conclave,’” Mahony told the news service.
The retired cardinal has been under fire for his handling of sexual abuse cases, particularly his role in hiding molestations by priests from authorities. The cover-ups were revealed with the recent release of thousands of pages of detailed court documents about the cases.
Archbishop Jose Gomez, Mahony's successor as head of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, removed Mahony from all public duties once the court documents became public.
But shortly after Pope Benedict XVI announced he would retire at the end of last month, Mahony announced on his blog that he would attend the conclave to elect the next pope. The announcement touched off a fresh storm of protest against Mahony, who has been using his blog and Twitter account to defend himself.
Now in Rome for the conclave, Mahony has been keeping a high profile and tweeting regularly.
-- Jean Merl
Photo: Cardinal Roger Mahony officiates at Ash Wednesday services in 2008 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press