2018-06-30 18:45:29 UTC
Pope replaces Australian prelate who opposes sex abuse norm
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Melbourne's archbishop,
who said he'd prefer jail to telling civil authorities about any sex
abuse of children that might be revealed to him in the confessional.
The Vatican said Friday that the pontiff has appointed Monsignor Peter
Comensoli, 54, to head the archdiocese, replacing Archbishop Denis
At 77, Hart is two years older than the age at which all bishops must
offer the pope their resignation.
Last year in an interview, Hart objected to a recommendation from
Australia's Royal Commission on child sexual abuse that priests be
required to report cases of abuse heard in the confessional to
Then head of Australia's bishops' conference, Hart defended the
special nature of confession as part of religious freedom.
The Australian church has been stung by sexual abuse scandals
involving prominent clergy.
Next week, a magistrate is due to sentence Adelaide Archbishop Philip
Wilson. The magistrate in May found Wilson guilty of failing to report
to police the repeated abuse of two altar boys by a pedophile priest
during the 1970s. Wilson is the most senior Catholic cleric in the
world to be convicted of covering up child sex abuse.
Australian Cardinal George Pell, who served at the Vatican as one of
the pope's top aides, faces trial in his home state of Victoria on sex
abuse charges. Pell has denied wrongdoing. Details of the allegations
haven't been made public.
Francis has insisted top clerics be held responsible for failing to
crack down on pedophile clergy.