(From AP News)
Pope Francis on Monday accepted the resignation of an Australian archbishop convicted in criminal court of covering up the sexual abuse of children by a priest, taking action after coming under mounting pressure from ordinary Catholics, priests and even the Australian prime minister.
It was the second major announcement of a sex abuse-related resignation in as many days, suggesting Francis is keen to show he’s getting tough on the issue before he heads to Ireland next month, where the sex abuse scandal is likely to dominate the trip.
Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson was convicted in May of failing to report to police the repeated abuse of two altar boys by a pedophile priest in the Hunter Valley region north of Sydney during the 1970s. He became the highest-ranking Catholic cleric ever convicted in a criminal court of abuse cover-up.
Wilson had declined to resign pending an appeal of his case, though he acknowledged as recently as last week that calls for his sacking were increasing. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull added his voice to the chorus July 19 in urging Francis to fire him.
In a one-line statement Monday, the Vatican said Francis had accepted Wilson’s resignation. At 67, Wilson is well under the normal retirement age for bishops of 75.