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via BBC News

Roman Catholics in the US have delivered a petition asking Cardinal Roger Mahony to stay away from the conclave in Rome to choose a new pope.

The former Archbishop of Los Angeles was stripped of his duties last month over allegations he protected priests accused of child sex abuse.

Continuing scandals over sex abuse in the Church have cast a shadow over the process of choosing a new pope.

Activist group Catholics United gathered nearly 10,000 signatures asking Cardinal Mahoney to recuse himself from the conclave that will chose the next leader of the world’s Catholics.

Handing in the petition in Los Angeles, the group’s communications director, Chris Pumelly, said he was delivering a “message of pain” from thousands of Catholics.

“Cardinals, bishops and leaders of the church, listen to the cries of your flock, respect the victims of abuse and cover up, don’t run from it,” he said.

“Your scandal brings pain to the faithful.”

On Saturday Cardinal Mahony answered questions for more than three hours from lawyers investigating sexual abuse by priests while he was Archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985-2011.

Church files unsealed under a court order last month show that in the 1980s he sent priests known to be abusers out of California to protect them from criminal prosecution.

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