The Pope has accepted Archbishop Philip Wilson’s resignation two months after the 67-year-old was convicted of concealing the crimes of serial paedophile, Jim Fletcher, in the 1970s.
Wilson was given a 12-month sentence in June 2018 for covering up child sexual abuse and failing to contact the police.
The disgraced archbishop submitted his resignation in July following pressure from Fletcher’s victims and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Apostolic Administrator Bishop, Greg O’Kelly, hopes this new decision means the healing process can begin.
“People have been hurting, there’s been anger, there’s been disillusion,” O’Kelly says.
“Now he’s made this decision and we have to listen and try to rebuild, restore trust, restore confidence in people.”
Vatican requires bishops ‘to cover up child sex abuse’ in absence of reporting laws
Canon law specialist, Kieran Tapsell, claims Catholic bishops in Australia are still obliged to not report child sexual abuse due to a lack of mandatory reporting laws.
In 1922, Pope Pius XI directed bishops to treat crimes like “obscene acts with animals”, “solicitation of sex during confession”, and “gravely sinful offences perpetrated against children” with complete secrecy.
Tapsell was an expert witness throughout the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. He told the commission that this hush-hush attitude has been passed down from Pope-to-Pope for centuries – including Pope Francis.
“Because of all of this concentration on confession, people don’t realise there is still a requirement in canon law to cover up child sexual abuse within the church,” Tapsell told the commission.
The commission recommended removing the Seal of Confessional so that children can be better protected against paedophile priests.
Call for Bathurst police to be honoured for bringing St Stanislaus College paedophiles to justice
Victims of abuse from Bathurst’s St Stanislaus College are urging the New South Wales Government to honour the police investigators who brought several paedophiles to justice in the 1970s.
Between the 1970s and 1990s, more than 160 students from the Catholic boarding school were abused. Both priests and teachers were culprits, sexually abusing the boys for decades.
Former student, Terry Jones, has written to MP Paul Toole asking for the Chifley Police District to be recognised for their efforts bringing the St Stanislaus College paedophiles to justice.
“The police worked in Bathurst under the most extreme circumstances and they came up with 161 victims and 400 offences in the one school,” Jones said.
A former priest, Brian Joseph Spillane, is just one member of staff who worked at the college who is serving jail time for abusing students.