Call for some cardinals not to attend conclave

Wed, Feb 20, 2013, 00:00

If US Cardinal Roger Mahony is unfit to vote in next month’s conclave, what about Irish primate, Cardinal Seán Brady? In the wake of the fierce polemics surrounding Cardinal Mahony, Vatican commentators yesterday suggested that Cardinal Brady might be the next church leader to find his right to vote in conclave contested.

The US group, Catholics United, has been running a campaign calling on Cardinal Mahony not to take part in the conclave. They argue that, given that earlier this month Cardinal Mahony was relieved of all church administrative duties by his successor Archbishop José Gomez because of his mishandling of clerical sex abuse cases, then he should not travel to Rome to vote.

An online petition by Catholics United, bearing 5,000 signatures by last night, reads, “Cardinal Mahony: Stay Home”, adding: “If a cardinal is stripped of public ministry in his diocese, why should he be rewarded with being allowed to vote for the next pope?”

In 2007, the archdiocese of Los Angeles, then administered by Cardinal Mahony, reached a $660 million settlement with 500 victims.

Vatican commentators began to speculate yesterday as to just how many other cardinals might have similar problems in their past. In that context, SKY 24 TV Italia yesterday asked if Cardinal Brady might be next in line because of his 1975 involvement in an internal, canon law hearing, involving children who had been abused by paedophile, Fr Brendan Smyth.

Most Vatican commentators, however, argue neither Cardinal Mahony nor Brady will be “discouraged” from attending the conclave.