Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson will stand aside from his duties later this week after being convicted of covering up child sexual abuse during the 1970s.
The 67-year-old was on Tuesday found guilty at Newcastle Local Court of failing to report to police the repeated abuse of two altar boys by pedophile priest James Fletcher in the NSW Hunter region.
He is the most senior Catholic official in the world to be charged with concealing child sexual abuse and faces a maximum two years’ jail.
In a statement issued by the Catholic Church on Wednesday, Wilson said it was appropriate to stand down in light of Magistrate Robert Stone’s findings.
“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,” he said.
Wilson intends to stand aside from Friday, once he has put in place “necessary administrative arrangements”.
He is still considering Mr Stone’s reasons, together with his legal advisors.
“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,” the clergyman said.