The Archbishop of Perth Roger Herft has voluntarily stepped down a month after admitting to Australia's Royal Commission into child sex abuse that he had failed "miserably" the victim of one paedophile priest and been "deeply fooled" by another abusive priest.
He admitted he had let people in Newcastle in New South Wales down
"badly" by failing to report complaints about abusive priests to police.
He went on "long service leave" after giving his evidence to the
commission earlier this year.
The Sydney evangelical Rector, Rev David
Ould, was among those who said at the time that his position had become untenable and he had no choice but to resign.
In a statement on
the Perth diocese website, which has removed all links to photographs
of him as well as his biographical details, Herft says it was "good" to
have time away from his duties. He also appreciated consultations with
other senior members of the diocesan clergy team.
"I have decided to voluntarily stand aside from my role, function and
duties as Archbishop of Perth and Metropolitan of Western Australia
with immediate effect. This will include all duties including
ordinations, pastoral visits, public functions, Synod, Diocesan Council,
correspondence and other related engagements.
"I have taken this decision after much prayer,
thought and consultation with my advisors to allow for the mission and
ministry of the Diocese of Perth to flourish. I believe this is the
appropriate decision while I focus my attention on the Royal
Commission's ongoing inquiry into the Diocese of Newcastle.
"I am humbled by the courage and fortitude of survivors and victims
of child sexual abuse as they continue to bear witness to their stories
Assistant Bishop of Perth, Kate Wilmott, will run the diocese for the time being.
Herft is the highest-ranking person so far to pay such a price for behaviour exposed by the inquiry.