It's been less than two weeks since Roger Mahony was pulled from all public duties over his role in covering up child molestation cases. But that won't stop the LA cardinal from heading to Rome to help pick a successor to Pope Benedict, the LA Times reports. The news has split area Catholics. "His hands are dirty … from covering up years of sexual abuse. How can he be part of the conclave?" asks one abuse victim. Other parishioners are pleased their diocese will be represented. "Frankly, it's one more vote for a more progressive church," says one.
One person, however, who won't be helping to select the new pope is the old pope. Benedict will not participate in the conclave, a Vatican spokesperson said today, according to the AP. "The pope will surely say absolutely nothing about the process of the election," Rev. Federico Lombardi said. "He will not interfere in any way."