One of the most embattled members of the College of Cardinals, retired Los Angeles archbishop Roger Mahony, says that the Vatican told him he had to come to the conclave to help elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
To stay home because of protests over his track record in the clergy sex abuse scandals would be to give into outside pressure, which the cardinals cannot do because they must be free of all external influences to be able to choose the man they feel the Holy Spirit wants as the next Roman pontiff.
So Cardinal Mahony says, as Catholic News Service has it in a must-read interview:
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Cardinal Roger M. Mahony expressed “amazement” at calls that he withdraw from the upcoming papal conclave because of his record on clergy sex abuse, and said that the Vatican, acting through its ambassador to the United States, had instructed him to take part in the election of the next pope.
“I’m here because the Holy Father appointed me a cardinal in 1991, and the primary job of a cardinal, the number one job, is actually the election of a new pope should a vacancy occur,” the cardinal told Catholic News Service Feb. 28, two days after arriving in Rome.
“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’,” the cardinal said.
The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, replied to a request for comment that the cardinal’s statement “can be understood in light of the communique of the Secretariat of State that insisted on the importance of not giving in to external pressures that might limit the freedom of the electors and the conclave.”
Cardinal Mahony also continues his staunch defense of his record and more.
Read the rest here.