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VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican spokesman says a group representing church sex abuse victims is acting out of “negative prejudices” when criticizing cardinals.

The Reverend Federico Lombardi was responding to demands by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests that some cardinals recuse themselves from the conclave to elect the next pope.

The network has said that Cardinal Roger Mahony should withdraw because he protected abusive clergy from prosecution. Mahony is the retired archbishop of Los Angeles.

Lombardi says Mahony has reflected on and explained his record and has every right to be in the conclave, which is now in its second day.

Lombardi says the Vatican knows “how SNAP works” and says it acts out of “negative prejudices.”

The network’s David Clohessy called Lombardi’s comments harsh and discouraging to victims.

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