In a move that is rather unprecedented, a growing grass-roots campaign is trying to keep California Cardinal Roger Mahony from attending the upcoming Papal election. Part of the push to knock Mahony out of the electoral process comes as the Catholic laity is increasingly frustrated by the out of touch nature of the Vatican. This nature is not likely to change with a new Pope due to the fact that the majority of the cardinals voting for the office will be ones that reflect the values of Pope Benedict XVI.
For his part, Mahony has made it clear that he will be attending the vote and no one will get him to recuse himself from the Conclave. Unfortunately for Mahony, the revelations that are surfacing are coming very close to the Conclave, and are coming amid the sex abuse scandal that has tarnished nearly the entire Catholic hierarchy because, apparently, no one ever learned the adage that ‘it isn’t the crime that gets you, it’s the cove up.’
A petition has been circulating demanding that Mahony recuse himself. Andrea Leon-Grossman, a Los Angeles member of Catholics United, stated “It’s the right thing to do. In the interests of the children who were raped in his diocese, he needs to keep out of the public eye. He has already been stripped of his ministry. If he’s truly sorry for what has happened, he would show some humility and opt to stay home.”
Unfortunately, if Mahony were to step down, it would be necessary for nearly every single Cardinal in the Conclave to do so as well given their support for the cover up of the child sex abuse that ran rampant in the Church for decades. In fact, it will likely be nearly impossible to appoint a high ranking member of the Church to the Papacy without tapping someone like Pope Benedict XVI, who, as Cardinal Ratzinger, was responsible for a great deal of the cover up.
Mahony, however, has replied to this saying:
“Count-down to the Papal Conclave has begun. Your prayers needed that we elect the best Pope for today and tomorrow’s Church. . .Given all of the storms that have surrounded me and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles recently, God’s grace finally helped me to understand: I am not being called to serve Jesus in humility. Rather, I am being called to something deeper — to be humiliated, disgraced, and rebuffed by many.
“Sounding rather tone deaf, Mahony also said “I could understand the depth of their anger and outrage — at me, at the Church, at about injustices that swirl around us. Thanks to God’s special grace, I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them.”
The scandals started last month after a court released thousands of pages of confidential personnel files relating to more than 120 priests accused of child sexual abuse. The files showed that Mahony personally helped shield accused priests from prosecution. However, barring any actual impediment according to Church law, Mahony will have a vote in the Conclave. Despite being stripped of his role inside the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Mahony is still an active cardinal.
The AP has reported that other cardinals who are in the cross hairs of various groups calling for them not to attend are Ireland’s Cardinal Sean Brady, Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, and retired US Cardinal Justin Rigali. All of them are accused of actively shielding peodophile priests from prosecution.