For cardinals, scandal a heavy weight going into conclave
Cardinals gathered for their final day of talks Monday before the conclave to elect the next pope, amid debate over whether the Catholic Church needs more of a managing leader to clean up the Vatican or a pastoral one who can inspire the faithful at a time of crisis. Vivian Lee filed the following report.
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Members of the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests or SNAP named Cardinal Timothy Dolan as one of their Dirty Dozen last week: A list of cardinals who should not be pope, or vote for one.
"We are well aware of the positions of SNAP and the information that you've seen in the press, but it really isn't up to SNAP - that organization - to determine who should participate or not in the conclave," said Vatican Spokesman and Interpreter Reverend Thomas Rosica.
But Barbara Dorris, who says she was repeatedly raped starting at age six by more than one priest in the St. Louis, Missouri Archdiocese where Dolan was an auxiliary bishop, disagrees.
"Any number of victims went to him with not great results, mostly he didn't respond," Dorris said.
Reverend Gerald Murray of New York City defended Dolan on Monday.
"He is very clear that we are in a crisis of the church that can't be swept under the rug," Murray said.
Dolan has called for reform on sexual abuse matters on his own radio show.
Meanwhile, the push for Dolan as a papal candidate builds, just as Vatican workers hung the red curtains on St. Peter's central balcony for the election.
The Monday morning papers dubbed Dolan the shadow candidate or "dark horse", a reformer whose common touch and candor about the sexual abuse crisis in the church are seen as strength. But his detractors say he would be a poor leader.
"He is charismatic. I don't deny that. But that does not mean he hasn't done bad things.
Same is true of predators. They do good things and they do bad things. And we have to weigh them, because the safety of children outweighs everything else. And Dolan has failed on that time and time again," Dorris said.
As the sexual abuse crisis hangs like a cloud over the papal election, the faithful back home are also struggling with it.
"It's sad it's happened in the Catholic religion, but I think that I'm gonna have to...I am praying that my faith will not be derailed," said one worshiper in New York City.
Dorris notes the scandal derailed her faith and that she no longer practices.
Meantime, as cardinals prepare for the start of the conclave on Tuesday they will be going to bed thinking about some key characteristics they're looking for in the next pope, and reinvigorating a passion for the Catholic faith will be one of them.
If no new pope is elected Tuesday, they will meet again Wednesday, holding two votes in the morning and two in the afternoon.
That process will continue each day until a candidate gets 77 votes, a two-thirds majority.