Malcolm Turnbull tells Pope to sack Archbishop Philip Wilson

Malcolm Turnbull urged the Pope to sack Philip WIlson

The prime minister of Australia has called on the Pope to sack the archbishop of Adelaide, who has refused to resign after concealing the sexual abuse of children.

In May, Archbishop Philip Wilson, 67, became the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of not disclosing to police the abuse happening at the hands of another priest.

A number of bishops have privately counselled Wilson to resign since his conviction, with Archbishop Comensoli going on the record last week.

Mr Turnbull said: "The time has come for the Pope himself to sack him".

Wilson has faced calls to step down from South Australian political leaders, as well as Turnbull and the opposition leader, Bill Shorten, but last week released a statement saying he did not intend to resign.

He said it was time for "the ultimate authority in the church to take action and sack him".

He said Wilson's refusal to resign had led to a "terrible impasse".

He stepped aside from all official duties, with Pope Francis last month appointing Bishop Greg O'Kelly as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Adelaide in what was regarded as direct involvement in the case from the Vatican.

Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson remains on bail
Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson remains on bail Credit AP

He said he would resign from his role if his appeal is unsuccessful.

The prime minister's comments follow similar calls from within the Catholic church.

He has been sentenced to 12 months jail but announced plans to appeal, the Guardian said.

Peter Creigh, an altar boy repeatedly sexually assaulted by Fletcher, told the court he told Wilson about the abuse.

The royal commission - which ran for five years - spoke to thousands of victims and heard claims of abuse involving churches, orphanages, sporting clubs, youth groups and schools.

Wilson remains on bail while he is assessed by prison authorities for home detention, instead of jail.

Newcastle Local Court magistrate Robert Stone found Wilson guilty of concealing a serious indictable offence of another person, concluding his primary motive was to protect the church.

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