Hunter Catholic church abuse survivors have welcomed Philip Wilson’s resignation as Archbishop of Adelaide, but they won’t celebrate until Wilson’s appeal against his conviction is finalised.
“It’s been a long time coming; in the end he didn’t have much alternative. It’s a shame it dragged on for so long,” survivor advocate Bob O'Toole said on Tuesday.
Wilson was found guilty in May of covering up the abuse of children at the hands of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the 1970s.
In a media release from the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide on Monday night, Wilson said he hoped his resignation would be a "catalyst to heal pain and distress".
"Though my resignation was not requested, I made this decision because I have become increasingly worried at the growing level of hurt that my recent conviction has caused within the community.
"I had hoped to defer this decision until after the appeal process had been completed.
"However, there is just too much pain and distress being caused by my maintaining the office of Archbishop of Adelaide, especially to the victims of Fr Fletcher.
Peter Gogarty, who was abused by Fletcher, welcomed Wilson’s resignation but said the appeal process still hung over victims.
“It brings a bit of satisfaction, relief and vindication, but not closure,” he said.
“This is an important step but it is not finished; The appeal will drag on for some time.”
“The Archbishop had a choice, but all of the people who have been caught up in this didn’t have a choice; they have been dragged into it through no fault of their own.”
Another Fletcher victim, Daniel Feenan described Wilson’s resignation has a “step forward” towards the Catholic Church’s full acknowledgement of Fr Fletcher’s victims.
“It’s about time; it’s taken six years to get to this point. I’d just like to say I’m pleased,” Mr Feenan said.
“It doesn’t bring me closure. He is still going to appeal the judgement.”