In an interview with Eyewitness News Anchor David Ono, Mahony said he had to take part in the conclave because he had been asked to go and he wanted to give the Los Angeles region a voice in the process.
"Dozens of cardinals came up to me and thanked me and said, 'You know, you in the United States had to learn from your mistakes,' and we have. And we now have, I think, an archdiocese that is safe as it can possibly be with human beings against the abuse of others," said Mahony.
Mahony says one cardinal in particular certainly was listening.
"At a coffee break, now Pope Francis said to me, 'I'm sure glad you said what you did because a lot of us in other countries kind of thought these were not our problems,' he said, 'They are our problems, and we need to face them head on,'" Mahony said.
The cardinal admittedly played a huge role in a child abuse cover-up. The church recently released thousands of pages of documents showing how much he covered up for pedophile priests.
Mahony also discussed the selection of Pope Francis and the significance of having a South American pope.
"The vitality of the church in Los Angeles is in direct response to the Southern Hemisphere people coming to Los Angeles and bringing those values and that religious experience," he said.