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Cardinal Roger Mahony on March 8, 2013 at the conclave that elected Pope Francis.Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, August 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Disgraced Cardinal Roger Mahony pulled out of a scheduled fundraising appearance Monday for Utah’s Catholic diocese in anticipation of possible protests over his involvement in covering up priest sexual abuse while archbishop of Los Angeles in the 1980s.

A representative of the Diocese of Salt Lake City confirmed Mahony withdrew as keynote of the annual Bishop’s Dinner after recent reports of clergy abuse and Pope Francis’ call “for greater accountability,” The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The Catholic Church’s clergy sex abuse crisis was propelled back to the forefront with issuance last Tuesday of the Pennsylvania grand jury report revealing the sordid details of 70 years of abuse of 1,000 known victims committed by more than 300 priests.

Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011 and a cardinal since 1991, was found to have deliberately hid his knowledge of priests in his archdiocese guilty of committing sex crimes with youth, transferring the offenders after they had had counseling, enabling them to repeat their crimes.

The details, contained in some 12,000 pages that the LA archdiocese was court-ordered to release, led Mahony’s successor Archbishop Jose Gomez to term them as “brutal and painful,” and take the unprecedented step in 2013 of barring Mahony from administrative or public duties in the archdiocese.

“I find these files to be brutal and painful reading,” Gomez wrote at the time. “The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed.”

“My predecessor, retired Cardinal Roger Mahony, has expressed his sorrow for his failure to fully protect young people entrusted to his care,” Gomez said. “Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties.”

LifeSiteNews did not hear back from the Diocese of Salt Lake City on an inquiry into specifics of how Mahony was chosen to keynote the diocese’s fundraising dinner.

Salt Lake City Bishop Oscar Solis was ordained auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2004, and would have worked with Mahony there prior to Mahony’s 2011 retirement.

In a statement after the Pennsylvania grand jury report’s release, Solis expressed “personal shame, distress and anger concerning the sexual abuse committed by some of our priests, bishops and Church leaders against our children, young people and adults whom we are supposed to serve and to protect.

“It is distressing that some leaders have mishandled allegations of abuse, covered up such sinful acts and were not held accountable,” he said.

Mahony also withdrew from an appearance earlier this year as Pope Francis’ special envoy to the Catholic Diocese of Scranton’s 150th anniversary Mass.

Francis had appointed Mahony as his representative at the celebration observed with a Pontifical Mass on March 4 in the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

Local Catholics had promised to protest the event because of Mahony’s presence.

Mahony has campaigned for social justice and the immigration issue and defended Communion for pro-abortion politicians. He publicly battled EWTN foundress Mother Angelica in 1997 after she criticized his pastoral letter on liturgy for being ambiguous on doctrine.

The Rainbow Sash Movement (RSM) homosexual activist group has praised Mahony as being welcoming to their cause. The actively homosexual group stages publicity stunts daring Catholic clergy to deny members Communion at Mass.

Some reports have Mahony getting Governor Frank Keating fired in 2002 as chairman of the bishops' lay oversight board in the abuse scandal over Keating’s work toward getting the bishops to implement their own sex abuse policy. Keating had cited Mahony as obstructing the board’s work.

Mahony pushed back publicly after Gomez barred him from public duties in the archdiocese, stating, “Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors.”

Mahony’s duty as a retired archbishop would have consisted mainly in conferring Confirmations. He was still able to offer Mass at his North Hollywood parish and remained a “priest in good standing” in the archdiocese.

In 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced its record-breaking settlement with 508 victims worth $660 million, an average of $1.3 million for each plaintiff.

At the time the settlements brought the total amount paid out by the U.S. Church from 1950 forward to more than $2 billion – with about a quarter of that figure paid by the Los Angeles archdiocese. The archdiocese has since paid out more in settlements bringing the total figure to more than $740 million.

A replacement keynote for Mahony at the September 6 Diocese of Salt Lake City event has not yet been named, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Diocesan spokeswoman Jean Hill told the news outlet, “We hope to have a speaker at the annual Bishop’s Dinner who can highlight a vision for moving forward in the Catholic Church.”