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Archbishop to stand down

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Archbishop Philip Wilson has announced he will stand aside from his duties as Archbishop following yesterday’s decision by Magistrate Robert Stone in the Newcastle Local Court.

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In a statement released today, Archbishop Wilson said he had taken the opportunity overnight to consider His Honour’s reasons contained in the 59-page judgment and was still considering those reasons together with his legal advisors.

“While I do so, it is appropriate that, in the light of some of his Honour’s findings, I stand aside from my duties as Archbishop,” he said.

“I am now putting in place the necessary administrative arrangements to ensure that the affairs of the Archdiocese are managed responsibly. I therefore intend to step aside as of Friday this week once those arrangements are in place.

“If at any point in time it becomes necessary or appropriate for me to take more formal steps, including by resigning as Archbishop, then I will do so.

“In the meantime, while the remainder of the legal process runs its course, I want to assure the Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese of my continued prayers and best wishes and assure everyone that the affairs of the Archdiocese will be appropriately managed in my absence.”

ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said in a statement issued today that Archbishop Wilson’s decision to stand down as Archbishop of Adelaide was “appropriate”.

“We, his brother bishops, believe Archbishop Wilson’s decision, though difficult, was appropriate under the circumstances.

“Our prayers are with all those who have felt the impact of this long legal process, including the survivors who shared their stories, as well as with the Archdiocese of Adelaide and with Archbishop Wilson himself,” he said.

In a memorandum to the faithful of the Diocese of Port Pirie and Adelaide Archdiocese, Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ said his “heart goes out to all of you” following the news of the verdict.

“It would be fair to say that for most of us it came as a complete surprise as to what we anticipated,” Bishop O’Kelly said.

“One can only imagine how devastating this verdict must be to one who was so confident in his protestations of innocence. My faith in the Archbishop and his word is not shaken by this outcome. We should all pray for his strength.

“We pray at the same time for survivors for the harm inflicted by Church personnel. We have taken too long to acknowledge our need to care for survivors. All sorts of good people have become entangled in these outcomes.

“Let us pray for Archbishop Wilson and for all survivors. Let us pray that our Church through its good men and women and their faithfulness will continue to show forth the face of Christ, in all its pain and grace,” Bishop O’Kelly wrote.

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