Melbourne Archbishop-elect Peter Comensoli says he believes Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson should resign because “the path he is taking is not of benefit for God’s people”. Source: Newcastle Herald.
Archbishop-elect Comensoli said Archbishop Wilson’s refusal to resign after he was convicted of concealing a New South Wales priest’s historical child sexual abuse crimes had led to a “terrible impasse”.
“Philip Wilson has chosen to not offer his resignation, and has rightly said he has a right to appeal, which he has done, but in all of that there remains what is good for the people of God in this circumstance, and most particularly, what would be good for the people of the Archdiocese of Adelaide,” Archbishop-elect Comensoli told the ABC’s Religion Report yesterday.
“For those reasons I think the path he is taking is not of benefit for God’s people in Adelaide, so I along with a number of other bishops have sought to counsel Philip in that regard.”
Archbishop-elect Comensoli is the first bishop to state publicly that he has encouraged Archbishop Wilson to resign after Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge last week confirmed a number of Australian bishops had “offered their advice privately”, following calls by Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten for Archbishop Wilson’s resignation.
Archbishop-elect Comensoli said he did not know how he would react if he was in Archbishop Wilson’s position. He said he hoped he would prioritise his “service to God’s people”.
Criticism of the bishops for not acting to secure Archbishop Wilson’s resignation misunderstood their ability to act, he said.
“A bishop has a mandate from the Pope. I have no jurisdiction over a fellow bishop. I can call out until the cows come home for someone to resign or give up their diocese, and it might have some value by way of influence, but it has no authority about it.
“If the bishop is to be asked to resign it can only come from the Pope.”