Convicted archbishop sparks fury with ‘pray for me’ letter
Australian Philip Wilson, the Archbishop of Adelaide who was found guilty this week of concealing child sexual abuse, has caused outrage by sending a letter to Catholic schools in his home state, asking pupils to ‘please continue to pray for me’.
Wilson’s letter, according to this report, first went viral on Twitter, and then Reddit, where it generated outrage over his decision to contact children directly, via the Catholic school system.
Dr Neil McGoran, the Director of Catholic Education South Australia explained that the letter’s purpose was to inform people of Wilson’s decision to step aside and:
Reassure them that the essential pastoral aspects of the life of the Archdiocese of Adelaide would continue.
The most senior Catholic official in the world to be convicted of covering up child abuse, Wilson has denied claims he covered up child abuse by paedophile priest Jim Fletcher, who died in jail in 2006.
Wilson said he could not remember a conversation he had with an altar boy about Fletcher and alleged sexual abuse, which took place in 1976. He was found guilty on Tuesday, and faces a maximum of two years in jail.
Meanwhile, the BBC reports that a review by the Diocese of Truro reveals the Church of England ignored child sex abuse carried out by a former member of the General Synod, Jeremy Dowling, above, a lay preacher, teacher and church employee. He abused young boys in the 1970s and was jailed in 2015.
It said several bishops were told about the abuse and did not take action. It found there was a “probable misunderstanding” by church leaders over a decision not to prosecute him.
Dowling became a member of general synod in 1977 and was communications officer for the Diocese of Truro from 2003 to 2009.
The school where Dowling carried out the abuse cannot be named because of a risk of identifying the victims.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn (BBC report)