February 21, 2013

Cardinal obligated to vote for pope?

Roger Mahony, disgraced for shielding abusive priests, rejects calls to abstain from papal voting.

By NICOLE WINFIELD The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Cardinal Roger Mahony
click image to enlarge

Disgraced Cardinal Roger Mahony, shown officiating at Ash Wednesday services, says he has every intention of attending the conclave to elect the next pope.

The Associated Press

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley


Vatican watchers buzzing over next month's expected papal conclave say Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley could emerge as a strong candidate as concerns over an American pope subside and the Boston archbishop's star rises.

The chatter about O'Malley picked up after John L. Allen Jr., a highly respected Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, wrote in a blog post that the cardinal's name has been making the rounds in the Italian press, both because of his handling of the clergy sex-abuse scandal and his growing profile as a "prominent" non-European contender.

It's made the notion of an American pope -- long considered implausible given the country's superpower status -- now "thinkable," said Allen.

"For every major crisis that seems to pop up as a front-burner issue, Cardinal Sean brings some real gifts," said Ernest Collamati, chairman of philosophy and religious studies at Regis College.

"His appearance is one of a man of simple habit," Collamati added, noting that in light of the politicking that dominates the Holy See and scandals surrounding the Vatican Bank and church abuse crisis, "this might appear to be the kind of medicine needed. And he has worked with immigrant communities as well. He would have a real feel for cultural diversity."

O'Malley declined comment through an archdiocese spokeswoman, who referred to comments O'Malley made last week, when he said he wasn't interested in the post.

That in itself could be a benefit, said Thomas Groome, chair of the Department of Religious Education at Boston College.

- Boston Herald

Mahony has responded directly and indirectly to the outcry on his blog, writing about the many "humiliations" Jesus endured.

"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," Mahony wrote.

He said in recent days he had been confronted by many angry people. "I could understand the depth of their anger and outrage -- at me, at the Church, at about injustices that swirl around us," he wrote. "Thanks to God's special grace, I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them."

Mahony declined further comment Wednesday, according to the archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamburg.

Mahony is scheduled to be questioned under oath on Saturday as part of a clergy abuse lawsuit about how he handled a visiting Mexican priest who police believe molested 26 children in the Los Angeles archdiocese during a nine-month stay in 1987. The Rev. Nicolas Aguilar Rivera fled to Mexico in 1988 after parents complained. He has since been defrocked but remains a fugitive, with warrants for his arrest in both the U.S. and Mexico.

Historian Ambrogio Piazzoni, the vice prefect of the Vatican library, said there was no precedent for a cardinal staying away from a conclave because of personal scandal.

Any decision to stay away, he said, would have to be approved by the full College of Cardinals given that the main duty of a cardinal is to vote in a conclave.


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