My dear brother priests,
I am sure you will join me in extending your prayers and warm wishes for Cardinal Roger Mahony, as he prepares to travel to Rome to exercise his sacred duty as Cardinal Elector of our next Pope.
As you know, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has scheduled a farewell gathering with the members of the College of Cardinals for February 28. This will also be the Pope’s final day in office. The conclave of the College of Cardinals will begin 15 or 20 days following the vacancy of the papacy.
Cardinal Mahoney will be the senior American Cardinal among the 11 Cardinal Electors from this country. I am confident that Cardinal Mahony’s accomplishments and experience in the areas of immigration, social justice, sacred liturgy, and the role of the laity in the Church will serve the College of Cardinals well as it works to discern the will of the Holy Spirit in these deliberations that will lead to the election of our new Pope.
There continues to be confusion in some media about the status of Cardinal Mahony and Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry.
I have clarified publicly with a previous statement to the media that although Bishop Curry has stepped down as administrator of the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region and although Cardinal Mahony as Archbishop Emeritus, has no specific administrative assignments, they both remain bishops in good standing in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Both have full rights to celebrate the Holy Sacraments of the Church and to minister to the faithful without restriction. Having been promoted to the dignity of Cardinal, Cardinal Mahony has all of the prerogatives and privileges of his standing as a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
I encourage you and your parishioners to keep our Holy Father Pope Benedict in your prayers and to pray for Cardinal Mahony as he fulfills this sacred duty as Cardinal Elector.
I wish all of you a most blessed season of Lent as we journey toward Holy Week and Easter Sunday.