Two high ranking Catholic officials say Cardinal Roger Mahony must decide whether to avoid the papal conclave, and one of them admits that higher church authorities could ask him to stay home.
Yesterday, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis of Italy told Italian newspaper La Repubblica that Mahony “could be advised not to take part only through a private intervention by someone with great authority.”
And the Vatican’s former point man on abuse, Maltese Bishop Charles Scicluna, voiced similar opinions in an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, saying Mahony “will decide in conscience what to do.”
Yet, given Mahony’s actions in Los Angeles and the multitudes of crimes he abetted - and in some cases may have committed - we hardly think that’s a good outcome. His church superiors should insist that Mahony stay home, and his church colleagues should publicly prod Mahony to stay home.
We hope that the words of Cardinal De Paolis ring true and that the choice is taken away from Mahony. We hope that high ranking Vatican officials will instead preclude Mahony from attending the conclave and voting for the new Pope. His sordid record covering up child sex crimes should be considered a stain on the church and unworthy of a papal elector.
Hopefully, other Vatican officials see it this way as well.
Finally, we can’t help but wonder about Mahony’s motives. Does he believe that he brings such unique and valuable wisdom that the collective work of the other 116 Cardinals will somehow be inevitably worse without him? Or does he want yet another parishioner funded overseas junket for purely personal and selfish reasons? How is it that he claims to feel ‘sorry’ for his wrongdoing yet never acts like he’s sorry?