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  • Archbishop Philip Wilson leaves Newcastle Local Court, in Newcastle, Australia, July 3, 2018.

    Archbishop Philip Wilson leaves Newcastle Local Court, in Newcastle, Australia, July 3, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 July 2018

The court has adjourned the matter until August 14 to assess whether Wilson can serve his sentence under home detention.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Philip Wilson, an Australian archbishop convicted in May of concealing abuse by a notorious pedophile priest in the 1970s, the Vatican said Monday.

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Earlier this month Wilson, 67, was sentenced to a year in detention after becoming one of the highest-ranking church officials to be convicted on the charge.

"The Holy Father Francis accepted the resignation of the pastoral government of the Archdiocese of Adelaide (Australia), presented by S.E. Mons. Philip Edward Wilson," the Vatican said in a statement.

Wilson's legal team made four attempts to have the case thrown out, arguing that he suffered from Alzheimer's and so should avoid trial.

But a magistrate in Australia found Wilson guilty of concealing a serious indictable offense of another person, concluding that his primary motive was to protect the church.

He said when sentencing him that Wilson showed "no remorse or contrition."

His resignation, which he had earlier refused to submit, comes as a new wave of sexual abuse allegations have hit the highest echelons of the Church around the world, further tarnishing its image and creating the greatest crisis of Francis' pontificate, now in its sixth year.

It came two days after the Vatican announced that the pope had stripped Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, DC, of his rank as cardinal and ordered him to live in seclusion. McCarrick has been accused of sexual abuse of minors and adult seminarians decades ago.

Francis is also fighting an image crisis in Chile, where a growing abuse scandal has enveloped the Church since all 34 of the country's bishops offered to resign.

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