Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull has appealed to Pope Francis to fire Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson found guilty of concealing child sexual abuse.
“The time has come for the pope himself to sack him,” Turnbull stated prior to the meeting with senior Australian clergy about Archbishop Wilson’s case and the church’s wider response to a long-running inquiry into institutional child abuse.
Archbishop Philip Wilson is one of most senior Catholic Church officials in the world to be convicted of the crime. He has so far resisted pressure from an array of Australian lawmakers and community groups to resign since a judge sentenced him this month to home detention over the conviction.
The 67-year-old archbishop denied through his trial having known about the abuse of altar boys in the 1970s by another priest, James Patrick Fletcher, who died in prison in 2006.
Archbishop Wilson stepped aside from his duties in May but refused to resign until completing an appeal of his sentence, which could see him serve as little as six months. He is one of few bishops anywhere in the world to have been criminally charged with concealing child abuse and mistreatment by members of the clergy.