THE Australian Primate, the Archbishop of Adelaide, the Most Revd Geoffrey Smith, has called on the former Archbishop of Brisbane and one-time Governor-General of Australia Dr Peter Hollingworth to resign his Orders, despite the ruling from a recent inquiry that he was fit to continue in Holy Orders (News, 28 April).
The diocese of Melbourne’s Professional Standards Board upheld seven of ten allegations of misconduct brought against Dr Hollingworth; the allegations related to claims that he mishandled sexual abuse matters when Archbishop of Brisbane between 1989 and 2001 (News, 26 October 2018). He has never been accused of any abuse himself. The Board required him to apologise to victims and accept a reprimand from the Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier.
Speaking on an Australian Broadcasting Commission television programme aired on Monday, concerning the inquiry into Dr Hollingworth’s fitness for ministry, Archbishop Smith said that it would be a “reasonable thing” for Dr Hollingworth to resign, for the sake of sexual-abuse victims and the Church’s reputation. He questioned why Dr Hollingworth continued to have permission to officiate.
Although his comments were recorded before the Professional Standards Board found that Dr Hollingworth could continue to officiate in a limited capacity, Archbishop Smith has subsequently said that he still holds those views.
Dr Hollingworth’s lawyer, Bill Doogue, responded that the Primate had “limited national responsibilities” apart from managing disciplinary issues in his own diocese of Adelaide.