National Council of Priests of Australia calls on Pope to intervene in Philip Wilson case

| 21.07,18. 01:52 AM |

National Council of Priests of Australia calls on Pope to intervene in Philip Wilson case

Photo: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson has been called on to resign. (AAP: David Mariuz)

The Executive of the National Council of Priests of Australia (NCP) has "wholeheartedly" endorsed the appeals for Archbishop Philip Wilson to resign, and have called on the Pope to intervene.

It follows comments made by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday that the Pope should "sack" Wilson.

Earlier this month, Wilson was sentenced to 12 months' detention after being found guilty of concealing the sexual abuse of children between 2004 and 2006 at the hands of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the 1970s.

He is the most senior Catholic in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse.

In a statement, the body said his position had been "compromised" since his conviction.

"While the Archbishop is exercising his constitutional right to appeal his conviction, his tenure as Archbishop of Adelaide has been compromised," the statement read.

"The welfare of the People of God of the Archdiocese of Adelaide must take precedence over the desire of an individual to remain in office.

"When an accusation is levelled at a Parish Priest or when he is charged with a criminal offence, he is automatically stood down until his guilt or innocence is established.

"Archbishop Wilson remained in office for the duration of his trial. He only stood down after his conviction."

The statement continued that "this appearance of inequity is an affront to natural justice and galling to both priests and laity".

"For the good of the Church in Australia and for the benefit of the People of God in the Archdiocese of Adelaide, the Executive of the NCP requests that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, removes Archbishop Philip Wilson from his See [position]."

Wilson was sentenced to 12 months' detention — eligible for parole after six months — but said he would lodge an appeal against his conviction.

Following the sentencing, Wilson said he would not quit his post, despite the growing calls.

"I intend to lodge an appeal against my conviction to the District Court of New South Wales," he said in a statement.

"I am conscious of calls for me to resign and have taken them very seriously.

"However, at this time, I am entitled to exercise my legal rights and to follow the due process of law.

"Since that process is not yet complete, I do not intend to resign at this time."

Port Pirie Bishop Greg O'Kelly was appointed by Pope Francis as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Adelaide last month, taking over responsibilities formerly in the hands of Wilson.

PM weighs in for second time

On Thursday, Mr Turnbull said the Pope should "sack" Wilson, saying "the time has come".

"There are many leaders that have called on him to resign, it is clear that he should resign," Mr Turnbull said.

He said it was time for "the ultimate authority in the church to take action and sack him".

Mr Turnbull had previously said Wilson should resign — a call echoed by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and South Australian Premier Steven Marshall.


(Votes: 0)

Write Your Comment

Other News

Questions raised over the best way to screen and assess people at risk of bowel cancer Ambulance costs around Australia: why is it free in some states and not others? Rainbow Beach teenager thriving after parents ignore advice to switch off life support Malcolm Turnbull tells Pope to sack Archbishop Philip Wilson after court ruling ABORIGINAL NATIONS SHINE AT NATIONS OF ORIGIN Truck crashes over bridge, falls 20 metres into South Gippsland river Frozen hose hampers battle against NSW house fire Finding it harder to get a loan? Here's why Ellenbrook murder inquiry: Teen charged with killing mother and her two children My Health Record opt-out period begins, but privacy concerns remain Liverpool Hospital delays keep ambulance patients waiting for up to three hours Three murdered, 19yo in custody after incident at Perth home One dead, four hospitalised after fire rips through hoarder's house in Putney Man and woman arrested over Balmain supermarket stabbing Suspected human remains found at Oakleigh South warehouse in Melbourne's south Woolworths, Coles and Aldi sliced mushrooms recalled over potential plastic hazard Perth mother Cara Lee Hall jailed for life for murdering husband and attacking two sons Sydney 7-Eleven axe attack accused Evie Amati grabbed paramedic and had to be sedated, court hears Tax dodgers and fudgers cost Federal Government $8.7 billion in a year Airport security card company reveals data hack as AFP investigates Aboriginal nations in training Sydney 7-Eleven axe attack accused Evie Amati caught on CCTV British man charged over 'horrendous' sexual assault in NSW tourist town Sydney Tower Eye defends safety measures after man's death Sydney restaurant Gangnam Station fined for dumping unconscious women on street Frozen vegetables recalled from Woolworths, Aldi, IGA supermarkets over listeria concerns Woman accused of axe attack said she was 'going to kill a lot of people', court told Young girl killed in horror crash Killer John Edwards wrote letters to family before shooting teenage children dead Police investigate car crash 'link' to body found after house fire