Pressure mounts on Pope to sack convicted archbishop

Pressure mounts on Pope to sack convicted archbishop July 7, 2018

Anger is mounting in Australia over the refusal of Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, 67, to resign after he was sentenced this week to a year’s detention for covering up clerical sex abuse – and pressure is being put on Pope Francis to sack him.
According to this report, child sexual abuse survivor Peter Gogarty has written directly to the Pope urging him to get rid of Wilson.

As the only person in the world who can take decisive action in this regard, I urge you to dismiss him from his post immediately.
You, as Pope, as head of a so-called sovereign state, as the head of the Vatican and of the worldwide Catholic community, must know that the already shattered reputation of your institution is being further eroded by Wilson’s decision.

Meanwhile, it’s reported here that Wilson’s closest bishop colleagues have advised him to resign after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called for his resignation following his jail sentence on Tuesday.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Mark Coleridge confirmed that a number of Australian bishops had “offered their advice privately”, after Wilson’s refusal to resign was widely condemned on Wednesday when he announced his decision to appeal his conviction for concealing child sex allegations.

A number of survivors, prominent Australians and other members of the community have publicly called on Archbishop Wilson to resign.
Although we have no authority to compel him to do so, a number of Australian bishops have also offered their advice privately. Only the Pope can compel a bishop to resign.

He said the bishops respected Wilson’s right to lodge an appeal but:

We also recognise the ongoing pain this has caused survivors, especially those who were abused by Jim Fletcher.

Peter Gogarty, above, and Daniel Feenan, who were both sexually abused by Jim Fletcher after Wilson was told in 1976 that Fletcher was a paedophile who abused altar boys, said they were pleased bishops had acted and politicians had supported abuse survivors in calling for Wilson’s resignation.
Said Gogarty:

I’m delighted the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is showing some more fortitude about this. They’re a bit slow to catch up.
They’ve probably been stung into action with the number of politicians who’ve called on the archbishop to resign. I’m not sure the bishops would have done this without that kind of pressure.
Now, surely, surely Archbishop Wilson will do the right thing and resign.

Gogarty said Australia’s bishops had the opportunity:

To get on the right side of history on this or risk further damage to their already shattered reputation. The Catholic Church says it’s changed and it’s more open and transparent and accountable. Well, show some of that, (Pope) Francis, and make Wilson resign.

Wilson, according to this report, announced  that he would appeal the verdict and resist public pressure to resign. He said he would only offer his resignation to Pope Francis if his appeal fails in the New South Wales state District Court.

I am conscious of calls for me to resign and have taken them very seriously. 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 remains free on bail and will return to court next month to find out whether he will serve his sentence in prison or at his sister’s house in home detention. He must serve a minimum of six months before becoming eligible for parole.
If the District Court upholds a Newcastle magistrate’s verdict, Wilson would have another two tiers of appeal courts available to him in a process that could take years.


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  • Jobrag

    All Ausrralian Roman Catholics should boycott church services till this piece of shit resigns, I’d give it three weeks. Simples.

  • Jonty

    I hope the bastard refuses to resign and I hope the pope does not sack him. This will further discredit the rcc, keep the rcc in the news and further undermine support for it. Getting the bastard sacked will do no good at all. The only way to bring the rcc down is to erode its support base. The only way to do that is to keep the crimes and arrogance of the rcc held up in the faces of the faithful until even the worst of them has to give it up.

  • sailor1031

    Let’s wait andf see if he really does resign after he loses his appeal. Until then I’m afraid he does have the right to be presumed not yet guilty. If he loses the appeal I doubt the decision to resign will still be his. Frankie can’t afford to be seen to ignore this under those circumstances.
    Of course it goes without saying that a person of honour would have resigned when the charges were first brought, not waiting to be convicted.

  • AgentCormac

    @Jobrag & Jonty
    Unfortunately the brainwashed millions never have and probably never will desert their church. They are too afraid to. After all, they have been told since birth what will happen to them by way of punishment if they do turn away from ‘the one true faith’. And from what a number of catholic friends have told me in the past, there’s a lot of pressure applied on individuals to conform so they don’t ‘disgrace’ their family.

  • Broga

    That’s a bit harsh. What about all the others?

  • RussellW

    “….in a process that could take years”
    Yes, indeed that’s the point isn’t it? The Grim Reaper could take Wilson before the law does. I didn’t expect Cardinal Pell to return to face the courts either, so there’s always a chance that Wilson will resign, or His Oiliness will fire him.

  • tonye

    As we all know there is only two things the rc church really cares about. (And it does not involve anything as mundane as saving souls or helping the poor!)
    Money and power.
    No matter what the scandal, every decision/act they do revolves around those two aims.

  • Broga

    I notice that some footballers cross themselves. Not the Russians – 70th in the world rankings and they came close to reaching the quarter finals. Meanwhile, Argentina with Messi and Portugal with Ronaldo (probably the two best players in the world) are heavy crosses – I mean their chests, not the ball, and they are ignominiously defeated and now on anti depressants as they cower at home from the enraged mobs.
    Where is God, the Pope and the priests in all this. Don’t these RC teams, from RC countries, have priests? If not, why not. Get Papa on board, with a straight line to The Great Scorer in the Sky, and they would be winning the world cup.
    Why is God, Papa and the priests being left on the bench? I think the millions of peasants in the defeated countries, deserve an answer.

  • RussellW

    God is obviously Orthodox or pissed off with RCC, which isn’t surprising.

  • Broga

    RussellW: That is probably the reason. God has said, “Bollocks to this, I’ve had enough.”
    What about Justin Welby? Will he be reappearing if England win the next game? Will they get a C.of E. vicar offering spiritual comfort – whatever that is. There was an England manager who employed a healer or whatever to lay hands on the heads of players. Paul Gascoigne said, “Short back and sides please” and that was never forgiven. I think he also asked whether the window was open so that the “spirit” could get out.
    Could be a “Thought for the Day” spot for Gareth. My wife, a keen student of these things, suspects Gareth of apostasy as “he is too intelligent to get involved with TFTD.”” I’m told, by her, that he has eight “O” levels, knows more that one language and reads books. God knows where she gets all this information.
    She insists, although I find it difficult to believe, that she saw Gareth “Hug the black players as well as the white”. Not too long ago the blacks would have been banned from being in the same room never mind playing with them. Now they are essential to the glory of Queen and country.
    I don’t watch England, unless they are losing, but I’m warming to Gareth.

  • andym

    @ Broga. I think it was the narcissist Glenn Hoddle- nicknamed “Chocolate” by Alan Shearer because he thought himself lovely enough to eat. If you remember, he jumped or was pushed after coming out with some half-baked New Age twaddle about disabled people being punished for sins in previous incarnations.

  • Broga

    andym: I remember. Hoddle was extraordinary in his readiness to preach his nonsense to the players. I didn’t know about the “Chocolate” nickname. I think Hoddle put the faith healer on the staff.
    The USA football teams (not soccer) have a priest blessing them before they walk out on to the pitch. Another USA custom on the way here?

  • StephenJP

    Let’s not get carried away. Among Southgate’s many good points is that he seems not to be interested at all in anything that is not evidence-based. He has taken ideas from other sports, from US basketball to UK women’s hockey, and turned them to advantage. I would expect him to be respectful to his players’ religious beliefs (if any) without suggesting that any of the rest of them could benefit from adopting them. I wish we had more grown-ups in charge of other aspects of our polity.

  • Broga

    StephenJP: Southgate’s virtues are relative. Football is a perfect distraction for the voters who might otherwise start, if they had they education and intelligence, to discover the way St Tess, Boris, Moggy of the six kids etc is shafting them.

  • StephenJP

    Ah, well, now, even the Tories (maybe especially the Tories) are not capable of manipulating football in order to distract attention from their own manifold sins and wickednesses.
    I am an optimist! I think that the electorate will eventually get round to understanding just how they have been shafted. The trouble is that it might take an unfavourable Brexit to bring it home to them.