I went and started digging on the backgrounds of the men who will vote for the next Pope. It's pretty horrifying, particularly in light of the Catholic child abuse scandal. While many of the Cardinals seem like decent people, some of them are absolutely horrifying and the large number of men who've protected pedophiles is disgraceful. I've tried to be fair in choosing some to call out, but virtually no one who has an interest in this matter could call me fair. I'm likely either too harsh or too lenient. I've elected to leave out some of the controversies and focus on the more serious ones. The fact that there are this many disgraceful men choosing the next Pope is heartbreaking.
Note that I've only listed clear controversies. Some have contraversies that were harder to verify and others have probably skeletons that are hard to dig up. I've also skipped some mention of Cardinals who support controversial figures.
It's important to note that there are some very, very decent men in the Catholic Church. In particular, I should point out Cardinal Wuerl, whose famous "zero tolerance" policy for child abuse and stance on putting victims first should be applauded. Don't let this list lead you to believe that all Catholic priests are criminals. Instead, ask yourself "why does the church tolerate this sort of behavior?"
- Cardinal Roger Mahoney. Fought hard for years to keep word of pedophile priests from the public. Urged at least one priest to not seek counseling over fears that the counselor would tell the police. Widespread controversy over his insistence upon traveling to Rome and voting for the new Pope.
- Cardinal Godfried Danneels. Protected pedophile priests and urged at least one victim to remain silent.
- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re. Cardinal Re has defended the Vatican's decision to excommunicate two doctors who performed an abortion on a 9 year old who was abused by her step father.
- Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. He's a very disgusting piece of work. Amongst his many charming comments, he blames homosexuality for priest's pedophilia, not celibacy.
- Cardinal Sean Brady. Irish Cardinal knowingly withheld information from police regarding a list of children who were being raped by a priest. Widespread controversy over his insistence upon traveling to Rome and voting for the new Pope.
- Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Was instrumental in paying pedophiles $20,000 each to leave the church quietly rather than turning them over to police.
- Cardinal William Levada. Has repeatedly denied that there is a pedophilia problem in the church and allegedly shielded a pedophile for nine years, leading to the bankruptcy of the Portland diocese (PDF).
- Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez. Has referred to gay people as "maricón" (Spanish word for "fag") and claimed Mexico's Supreme Court was bribed to uphold same-sex marriage laws. He also suggests that women's clothing may be to blame for rapes.
- Cardinal Polycarp Pengo. Refers to homosexuality as one of the most heinous sins on earth.
- Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco. Compares homosexuality to incest and pedophilia.
- Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez. Refers to gay marriage as a "comedy" and calls its supporters hypocrites and degenerates.
- Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi. Has upset some by refusing to condemn Hezbollah and appearing to support their right to arm themselves.
- Cardinal Joachim Meisner. A German who created a political firestorm by using a Nazi-Era term to describe art. (Truth be told, this could have been a completely innocent and unfortunate term caused by speaking off the cuff)
This list is almost 10% of the men who will choose the next Pope. Note that I've not listed any of the financial scandals and I'm sure I've missed (and possibly mislabeled) some of the scandals involved.
And remember that the Pope they're replacing is Cardinal Ratzinger, the man responsible for enforcing the Crimen Sollicitationis, a secret order from the Catholic church to impose absolute secrecy for sex crimes committed by priests.