On February 28th, Pope Benedict XVI will officially resign from his position. Almost immediately, cardinals from around the globe will come together to vote for the next Pontiff. However, according to an NBC News article, many in the U.S and Italy strongly want California Cardinal Roger Mahony away from the voting procedures.

Cardinal Roger Mahony is believed to have shielded sexually abusive priests in order to protect the church from a scandal. According to NBC, for this reason, an initiative by a group in the United States and Catholic United demanding that Mahony stays away from voting. Spokesperson Chris Pumpelly stated that 5,600 people have already signed a petition for him to do so.

“In the interests of the children who were raped in his diocese, he needs to keep out of the public eye. He has already been stripped of his ministry. If he’s truly sorry for what happened, he would show some humility and opt to stay home.” said Andrea Leon-Grossman, a member of Catholics United, in a statement on the group’s website.

However, Mahony asserted that he has no plan to stay home. On Monday February 18th, Mahony tweeted “Count-down to the papal conclave has begun. Your prayers needed that we elect the best pope for today and tomorrows’ church.” He has also assured to tweet daily on his Twitter page (@CardinalMahony) with updates during the process.

Mahony has already been stripped of his ministry last January but still has the privilege of a cardinal to vote.