Archbishop Convicted of Sexual Abuse Criminal Cover-up Resigns

  • Archbishop Convicted of Sexual Abuse Criminal Cover-up Resigns

Archbishop Convicted of Sexual Abuse Criminal Cover-up Resigns

The 67-year-old "is the most senior Catholic cleric to be found guilty of concealing abuse", NPR's Scott Neuman reported.

Wilson said in a statement late on Monday he had chose to resign because he had "become increasingly anxious at the growing level of hurt that my recent conviction has caused within the community", especially to Fletcher's victims. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on the pope to fire Wilson on July 19, according to The Associated Press - just one day before he apparently submitted his resignation.

Pope Francis accepted Monday the resignation of Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson following calls for the prelate's removal as head of the Archdiocese of Adelaide.

"This Archdiocese was the first to have a child protection unit, a child protection council, a police check unit", he said.

Wilson, the archbishop of Adelaide, has launched an appeal against his conviction, which is set to continue.

Wilson will continue with his appeals process.

But Concerned Catholics Canberra-Goulburn chair John Warhurst said the fact that it took so for Wilson to "do the right thing" did not reflect well on the church's efforts to present itself as a "humbled organisation".

Wilson had been spared prison earlier in July and sentenced to six months' home detention in Australia because of his poor health and advanced age.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of an Australian archbishop convicted of covering up the sexual abuse of children by a priest, taking action after coming under mounting from Australian priests and even the prime minister. But Pell, who denies the charges, remains a cardinal, head of the Vatican's economy secretariat and a member of Francis' core group of nine cardinal advisers.

The resignation came two days after the Vatican announced that the pope had stripped Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington DC, of his rank as cardinal and ordered him to live in seclusion.

Wilson said he was aware of the calls for his resignation, and was taking them very seriously, but meant to resign only in the case of the failure of the new appeal. The report also said the church should consider if "absolution can and should be withheld" if a person confesses to perpetrating child sexual abuse.

McCarrick had been accused of sexual abuse of minors and adult seminarians decades ago. Prosecutors, however, uncovered reports of at least four more victims abused by Munoz that were documented by the Santiago archdiocese, including some of his young relatives.