UK & World News
Anger Over Cardinal Mahony's Conclave Role
Victims of sexual abuse by priests in the largest Catholic diocese in the US have spoken of their anger that its former archbishop is taking part in the process to choose the next Pope.
Cardinal Roger Mahony was stripped of all administrative duties in January over allegations he engaged in a cover-up to protect priests accused of abuse.
He retired after 26 years as the Archbishop of Los Angeles in 2011, but the punishment handed down by his successor is regarded as unprecedented.
It followed the release of thousands of pages of files which highlighted claims against more than 100 priests dating back decades.
They also showed the attempts made to avoid getting the police involved.
Mahony, an enthusiastic blogger, has been providing a running commentary of developments in the Vatican since arriving to join the conclave.
A petition had called for him not to go.
Esther Miller, who was abused by a priest when she was a teenager, told Sky News she was angry that Mahony was there at all.
She said: "He is not contrite. As Catholic kids we learn the prayer of contrition and it talks about steps you do to repair the offences.
"He has not done steps to repair the offences, he has not done a full remorseful act. Instead he slaps us in the face and jaunts off to Rome. It is appalling."
Ms Miller said the abuse she suffered still impacts her life.
"I lament the years that were stolen from me," she said. "It is difficult."
She was a party to a multimillion dollar settlement between the church and victims in 2007.
It included an order to release the files but legal wrangling prevented their full release until January.
Victoria Kim, a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times which campaigned for the full release, said: "What was surprising to us was the explicitness in the church leaders' own words.
"They very much understood that what these priests had done could be prosecuted under criminal law. Their reaction was to try and avoid that at all costs."
The Los Angeles Police Department has said it will review the files to see if there is the prospect of a criminal prosecution for either abuse or the failure to report it.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told Sky News: "The Catholic Church's Canon Law requires Cardinal Mahony to participate in the election of the next Pope.
"The cardinal made mistakes, apologised for them, but also learned from them, implementing rigorous policies and procedures to deal promptly with allegations, and to provide abuse prevention training to adults and children."
They pointed out that the Italian newspaper La Stampa reported this week that Mahony's address to the General Congregation of cardinals focused on clergy sexual abuse and how it needs to be dealt with decisively.
He has already spent three hours answering questions from lawyers representing victims of abuse while he was in office in Los Angeles.
Victims groups say they hope the successor to Pope Benedict XVI will take a stronger line in supporting them and providing transparency within the church.