Vatican Backlash

Vatican condemns reports that the pope resigned to avoid scandal.
2:28 | 02/23/13

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Transcript for Vatican Backlash
Vatican taking aim at those unconfirmed reports that the spoep resigning before a scandal. Abc's david wright is in vatican city for us tonight. Reporter: Good evening. Tonight, the vatican used the strongest possible language to condemn the news coverage. Saying it needs to defend the freedom of the college of cardinals to elect the next pope. The official communique from the holy see made the vatican press corps seem like people trying to rig an election. Cardinals have faced many kinds of pressure to bend their decisions to a political end. Today, there's an attempt to do this through public opinion. Reporter: They have been railing for days about italian news reports claiming they know the contents of a classified internal investigation that the pope received in december. They say the real reason that benedict resigned was because the three investigating kartd analysis uncovered far more salacious comments. Church officials steered the conversation away from the sexual abuse scandal. Today in los angeles, cardinal roger mahony testified under oath about allegations that he actively con sealed the crimes. One was accused of molesting 26 boys in 1987, he fled to mexico after mahony's top aide warned him that he -- police would investigate. The idea that cardinal mahony should help choose the next pope say says it's an outrage. It's absolutely mind-boggling to me how this continues to go on and mahony should be jailed. Reporter: But the vatican says that voting in the conclave is a sacred duty, despite any worldly scandals. I don't think many of the cardinals in rome are very concerned about mahony voting because they consider him part of the fraternity. Reporter: He blogged this week about feeling like a scapegoat, as he put it, suffering painful and public humiliation just like jesus. David ht, abc news, rome.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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