Archbishop Philip Wilson will remain a bishop in the Church after resigning as Archbishop of Adelaide on Monday. Source: The Advertiser.
Archbishop Wilson will return to the “ranks” and have no authority within the Church but what role, if any, he has in the future is yet to be determined.
“He remains a bishop, but he’s no longer the archbishop,” the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Adelaide, Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, said yesterday.
“He has made this decision out of his concern for the wider issues in the church and the hurt to victims and the division that has been occurring and he wants to do what he can to remedy that.”
Bishop O’Kelly said it was hoped the resignation would bring to a close a “time of uncertainty and anxiety” within the Catholic community and defended the time it had taken for Archbishop Wilson to come to the decision.
“We all know the archbishop is convinced of his own innocence,” he said.
“It would take a while for anybody to come through a discernment process when you are convinced you are innocent.”
Pope Francis accepted Archbishop Wilson’s resignation on Monday night after weeks of intense pressure for him to quit because of his conviction for concealing child abuse.
He had resisted widespread calls to step down, pending the result of the appeals process, but on Monday night conceded this was causing “just too much pain and distress” so “I must end this” and resign.
In May, magistrate Robert Stone found that between 2004 and 2006, Archbishop Wilson did not tell NSW police what he knew about the sexual abuse of children by his former flatmate, the now deceased paedophile priest James Fletcher, in the 1970s.
At Newcastle Local Court in June, Mr Stone sentenced Archbishop Wilson to 12 months’ jail with a six-month non-parole term.
Fletcher victim Dan Feenan, 41, said “it’s about time” that Archbishop Wilson quit. “I would like to thank Malcolm Turnbull and other political and community leaders in Australia for their unwavering support in calling for Wilson to resign as his position was untenable,” he said.
“This will go a long way towards the healing process for myself and I’m sure other victims of James Patrick Fletcher.”
Wilson resignation to bring 'healing' says Church (9news.com.au)
Disgraced SA cleric future 'new territory' (SBS News)
Hunter abuse survivors welcome Philip Wilson’s resignation (Newcastle Herald)