Vatican City, Jul 30, 2018 / 04:00 am
Pope Francis accepted Monday the resignation of Archbishop Philip Wilson following calls for the prelate’s removal as head of the Archdiocese of Adelaide. Wilson was convicted in May of failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse disclosed to him in the 1970s.
A July 30 announcement from the Vatican stated that Archbishop Wilson had submitted his “resignation of the pastoral government of the archdiocese” and that it had been accepted by Pope Francis.
The resignation followed cries from political and Church leaders in Australia for Wilson to either resign or to be removed by Pope Francis, including from prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who asked the pope to dismiss the archbishop July 19.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, president of the Australian bishops’ conference, also said that “a number of survivors, prominent Australians and other members of the community have publicly called on Archbishop Wilson to resign.”
“Although we have no authority to compel him to do so, a number of Australian bishops have also offered their advice privately,” he said, adding that “only the Pope can compel a bishop to resign.”
In a statement on his resignation July 30, Wilson said he submitted his resignation letter to Pope Francis July 20.
He was not requested to do so by the Vatican, he said, but he made the decision because he had become “increasingly worried at the growing level of hurt” his conviction may have caused.
Wilson also noted his previous intention to defer the decision of whether to step down until after the completion of his appeal process, but said, “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.”