Anticipation is growing over the selection of the next pope, following Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise announcement that he is retiring. At one of his final public appearances, Benedict asked for prayers for himself and his successor. He then entered a week-long retreat amid wide speculation that the papal conclave might begin before March 15, allowing the cardinals to select the next pope earlier than previously dictated by church law. Meanwhile, some American Catholics are demanding Cardinal Roger Mahony not attend the conclave because of his role in the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Recently released documents show the former archbishop of Los Angeles covered up abuse by priests. Also this week, the head of the US Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, was formally questioned by lawyers for sex abuse victims. The deposition centered on Dolan’s handling of abuse while he oversaw the Milwaukee archdiocese.
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