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Feb 20, 2013 12:48 PM by AP Posted by Tony Spehar

Conclave brings out cardinals' dirty laundry

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Popular pressure is mounting in the U.S. and Italy to keep California Cardinal Roger Mahony away from the conclave to elect the next pope because of his role shielding sexually abusive priests.

Amid the movement, a Vatican historian says there is no precedent for a cardinal staying home from a conclave because of personal scandal. Conclaves always bring out the worst in cardinals' dirty laundry and this time is no different - except that the revelations of Mahony's sins are so fresh and ordinary Catholics seem to want to have a greater say in who is fit to choose the next pope.

Earlier this month, a court in Los Angeles ordered the release of thousands of pages of confidential personnel files of more than 120 priests accused of sex abuse. The files show that Mahony and other top archdiocese officials maneuvered behind the scenes to shield accused priests and protect the church from a growing scandal while keeping parishioners in the dark.

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