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Australia Prime Minister says Pope should sack archbishop over cover-up

Fri 20 Jul 2018
By Eno Adeogun

Australia's prime minister has called on Pope Francis to sack the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the world to be convicted of covering up child sex abuse.

Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson, 67, was sentenced in an Australian court to 12 months in detention after concealing the sexual abuse of two altar boys by a paedophile priest in the 1970s.

Leader Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Sydney: "He should have resigned and the time has come for the pope to sack him,

 

"There are many leaders that have called on him to resign, it's clear that he should resign and I think the time has come now for the ultimate authority in the church to take action and sack him," he added.

Wilson - who denied his charge throughout his trial has said he will appeal the charges, said he would only offer his resignation to Poe Francis if his appeal failed in the New South Wales state District Court.

"I am conscious of calls for me to resign and have taken them very seriously," Wilson said in a statement earlier this month. 

Darren Pateman/AAP Image via AP
Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson arrives for sentencing at Newcastle Local Court in Newcastle, Tuesday, July 3, 2018.

 

"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," he added.

Mr Turnbull insisted Wilson shouldn't be allowed to remain in post while appealing his conviction.

Earlier this month, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said only the Pope had the authority to compel Wilson to resign.

Brisbane's Archbishop Mark Coleridge said in a statement that some bishops had "offered their advice privately".

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