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‘Only the Pope can compel a bishop to resign’

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Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Australia’s Catholic bishops have responded to calls for Archbishop Philip Wilson to resign by saying that only Pope Francis could compel him to do so.

President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, said that the bishops respect the right of the Archbishop of Adelaide to appeal his conviction for concealing historical child sexual abuse.

In a statement released 5 July he said the bishops “have closely followed Archbishop Philip Wilson’s court case, including his conviction, his sentencing and now his intention to appeal his conviction”.

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“We respect Archbishop Wilson’s right to lodge that appeal; it is the right of any citizen,” he said.

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

“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.”

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