Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson resigns amid child sex abuse cover-up

| 30.07,18. 10:35 PM |




Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson resigns amid child sex abuse cover-up




Photo: Philip Wilson had been known as 'The Healing Bishop' for his work with victims of child sexual abuse. (ABC News: Nancy Notzon)

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson — the most senior Catholic in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse.


There had been intense pressure on Philip Wilson to officially step down from the role, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and other political leaders among those calling for his resignation.


In May, Wilson was found guilty of covering up the abuse of children between 2004 and 2006 at the hands of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the 1970s.


Fletcher died in prison in 2006.


In a statement, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said Wilson had "decided that his conviction means he can no longer continue as Archbishop because to do so would continue to cause pain and distress to many, especially to survivors and also in the Archdiocese of Adelaide".


"While the judicial process will continue, Archbishop Wilson's resignation is the next chapter in a heartbreaking story of people who were sexually abused at the hands of Jim Fletcher and whose lives were forever changed," the statement read.


"This decision may bring some comfort to them despite the ongoing pain they bear."


The Prime Minister said the resignation was overdue.


"I welcome Philip Wilson's resignation as Archbishop of Adelaide today which belatedly recognises the many calls, including my own, for him to resign," Mr Turnbull said on Monday night.


"There is no more important responsibility for community and church leaders than the protection of children."


It is understood Mr Turnbull was advised on the weekend that the Archbishop would be resigning.


Wilson was sentenced to 12 months' detention earlier this month and has said he intends to lodge an appeal.


'Too much pain in my maintaining office': Wilson


In a media release from the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide, Wilson said he hoped and prayed that his decision would be a "catalyst to heal pain and distress".


"On July 20 I submitted to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, my resignation from the position of Archbishop of Adelaide," he said.


"I have now been informed that His Holiness has accepted my resignation.


"Though my resignation was not requested, I made this decision because I have become increasingly worried at the growing level of hurt that my recent conviction has caused within the community.


"I had hoped to defer this decision until after the appeal process had been completed.


"However, there is just too much pain and distress being caused by my maintaining the office of Archbishop of Adelaide, especially to the victims of Fr Fletcher.


"I must end this and therefore have decided that my resignation is the only appropriate step to take in the circumstances."


abc


(Votes: 0)

Other News

MH370 investigators unable to determine cause of disappearance unless 'wreckage is found' Death of Iranian asylum seeker was preventable: Qld's state coroner General Gordon Hotel in Sydney catches fire, roof collapses THAT’S A WRAP - NATIONS OF ORIGIN 2018 Melbourne..Young woman left with head injuries after hit-run Bill Shorten's Super Saturday wins prove bankers v battlers is a real problem for Malcolm Turnbull Pope Francis accepts resignation of Cardinal McCarrick following sex abuse scandal Super Saturday delivers wins for Labor in Queensland, Tasmania and WA, Centre Alliance holds Mayo against Downer challenge Teen who stabbed pregnant woman in Sydney robbery charged with attempted murder ?What's at stake for Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten in the by-elections Paul Keating slams Nine's Fairfax takeover as Malcolm Turnbull welcomes deal 'Zombie blocks' to pull Sydney apartment prices even lower Former One Nation adviser Sean Black sentenced to five years' jail for raping his former wife Fairfax to lose its name in $4 billion takeover by Nine NBN write-down 'inevitable', warns ratings agency S&P Sydney woman Qi Yu's body found by major highway, police believe Police reveal identity of man they want to speak to in relation to Warwick Farm shooting Charges laid as Riverland school stabbing victim is flown to Adelaide in a serious condition Severe weather warning for Victoria, South Australia as strong winds leave crane in danger of collapse School uniform policy change gives NSW girls option of shorts or trousers Teen charged over death of woman at Melbourne CBD apartment Whale-watching tourist was taking selfies before fatal slip off cliff at Cape Solander NSW Police officer who hit 16yo boy 'as hard as he could' during Byron Bay arrest may face criminal charges Construction set for its biggest fall since the global financial crisis Overloaded reusable bags causing shoppers injuries, leaving physios to shoulder the burden Melbourne teen remembered as 'bright, positive' after death during CBD apartment dispute Woman dies in Melbourne apartment EQ Tower after dispute between two groups ANZ chief apologises over 'unacceptable' grilling of former employee in harassment case Man jailed over wife's 'slow, miserable and avoidable death' National Council of Priests of Australia calls on Pope to intervene in Philip Wilson case