VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis nominated on Sunday a special administrator to the Australian archdiocese of Adelaide after its head was found guilty last month of concealing child sex abuse by a priest.
Gregory O’Kelly – who is the Bishop of Port Pirie, a diocese north of Adelaide – will take the role known in Church law as “Apostolic Administrator”.
The Vatican appoints such administrators in a variety of circumstances including when a bishop or archbishop cannot fulfil his duties.
Philip Wilson, the archbishop of Adelaide and a former president of the Roman Catholic Church’s top body in Australia, was accused of covering up a serious indictable offence by another priest, James Fletcher, after being told about it in 1976.
Wilson is expected to be sentenced by an Australian court in June. He faces a maximum penalty of two years in jail.
Lawyers for Wilson had argued that he did not know that Fletcher had abused a boy. Fletcher was found guilty in 2004 of nine counts of child sexual abuse and died in jail in 2006 following a stroke.