Top US churchman urged not to help elect pope

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ROMAN Catholic activists have petitioned a United States cardinal to excuse himself from taking part in selecting a new pope, so as not to insult survivors of sexual abuse by priests committed while he was archbishop of Los Angeles.

The activists delivered a petition with nearly 10,000 signatures to the North Hollywood church where Cardinal Roger Mahony resides. As archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 until 2011, Cardinal Mahony worked to send priests known to be abusers out of state to shield them from law-enforcement scrutiny, according to recently opened Catholic Church files.

Cardinal Mahony has announced his intention to vote for the next pope.