SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Victims of priest sexual abuse are raising concerns over a cardinal and former Archbishop of Los Angeles being allowed to vote on Pope Benedict XVI’s successor, despite being rebuked over the abuse scandal.
Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement Monday of his resignation at the end of February has stunned the world’s estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
News that Cardinal and Archbishop Emeritus Roger Mahony would be part of the conclave that selects the new pontiff was criticized by the Northern California Chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
Director Joey Piscitelli said he thinks it’s “ridiculous” that Mahony will still be allowed to be among the College of Cardinals electing a new pope, after he was stripped of all his administrative duties last month.
“Mahony was removed of responsibilities and duties, but yet he’s still involved,” said Piscitelli. “So he hasn’t really been removed.”
Mahony was stripped of his duties by current Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez because of files indicating he and other leaders of the archdiocese went to great lengths to cover up allegations of sexual abuse.
The Rev. Jim Bretzke, Professor of Moral Theology at Boston College University, said there are only two things that would keep Mahoney, or any cardinal elector, from being disqualified.
“One is, once he reaches the age of 80 and two, if he is removed as a priest,” said Bretzke.
Benedict said he will resign from his post on February 28, citing reasons of failing health.
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