After repeatedly insisting that he would remain in his position until the appeals process was exhausted, the most senior Catholic cleric ever to be convicted of covering up sexual abuse has resigned. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, who was sentenced to 12 months of home detention by an Australian court earlier this month for failing to report a pedophile priest's abuse of altar boys in the 1970s, the New York Times reports. In a statement, Wilson said he was stepping down because of the "growing level of hurt that my recent conviction has caused within the community."
Before the resignation, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took what the Guardian describes as the "highly unusual" step of publicly calling on the pontiff to remove the archbishop. "I welcome Philip Wilson's resignation ... which belatedly recognizes the many calls, including my own, for him to resign," Turnbull said Monday. "There is no more important responsibility for community and church leaders than the protection of children." Wilson's resignation came days after Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the highest-ranking American brought down by the church's abuse scandals. (Read more archbishop stories.)