The Pope has accepted the resignation of Adelaide Catholic archbishop Philip Wilson after he was convicted of concealing child abuse in May.
Wilson became the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of not disclosing to police abuse by another priest.
Calls for his resignation came thick and fast but Wilson insisted he would not step aside until his legal options were exhausted.
Pope Francis accepted Wilson’s resignation on Monday night, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said in a statement.
The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, welcomed Wilson’s resignation.
“I welcome Philip Wilson’s resignation as Archbishop of Adelaide today which belatedly recognises the many calls, including my own, for him to resign,” he said in a statement.
“There is no more important responsibility for community and church leaders than the protection of children.”
Wilson’s appeal is set to continue, the ACBC said, but his resignation may bring comfort to the victims of priest James Fletcher – whose abuse the former archbishop allegedly concealed.
“This decision may bring some comfort to them, despite the ongoing pain they bear,” the ACBC said.