Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday called on an archbishop to quit after becoming the most senior Catholic official in the world to be convicted for concealing child sexual abuse.
Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson was sentenced to 12 months of detention on Tuesday for failing to report to police the sexual abuse of two altar boys by a paedophile priest in the 1970s.
“I am surprised that he has not resigned,” Turnbull told newsmen.
“Clearly, given the outcome of the case, the lawsuit and prosecution, he should resign.”
Turnbull was born a Presbyterian but converted to Catholicism, which is his wife’s religion, 16 years ago.
Wilson, 67, stepped aside from his duties since being convicted in May but has so far refused to resign.
Opposition Labor Leader Bill Shorten also said Wilson should quit.
“Wilson’s actions were inexcusable and his position is untenable. Resigning immediately is the very least he can do in this circumstance,” Shorten said.
Wilson is out on bail and will return in August to court to find out whether he will serve his sentence in prison or home detention.
Greg O’Kelly, the interim administrator of the Adelaide Archdiocese, refused to comment on the Wilson sentencing but said the church “must continue all efforts to listen and support” the victims, survivors and their families.
“The Church has made substantial changes to ensure that abuse and cover-up are not part of Catholic life and that children are safe in our communities,” the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said.