A senior cardinal has joined a growing number of Catholics questioning whether Cardinal Roger Mahony should miss the conclave that will elect a new pope.
Cardinal Velasio De Paolis said that the retired cardinal, who has
been criticised for his handling of the abuse crisis, has the right to
take part but should make a decision based on his conscience.
"He could be advised not to take part only through a private
intervention by someone with great authority."
Visitors to the website of Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana
said in an online poll that the former archbishop of Los Angeles should
miss the election.
One visitor said: "It seems inconceivable to me that
he doesn't feel the moral duty to abstain from the conclave."
A group of American Catholics, Catholics United, has launched a
petition titled "Cardinal Mahony: stay home".
The group said the
Cardinal's presence at the conclave could cause scandal in the Church.