Anglican bishop quits after threats to his safety for exposing child abuse
An Anglican bishop is resigning after facing harassment and threats to safety over his fight against clergy sex abuse.
Greg Thompson will quit as Bishop of Newcastle, Australia, after he revealed he was abused by senior church clerics as a young man.
He has been ostracised by some of his parishioners after he told the country's child abuse Royal Commission how the Church hierarchy protected abusers for decades.
'When I started this journey to right the wrongs of child abuse in the diocese I didn't expect to be in this position, nor did I expect to uncover systemic practices that have enabled the horrendous crimes against children,' he said announcing he would step down on Thursday.
'The decision to resign was not an easy one, it weighed heavily on my heart. However, I must place the wellbeing of my family and my health above my job.'
He said the criticism, threats and harassment he received forced to have security installed in his home because he did not feel safe.
'In those intimate moments in church – it is my cathedral – having people turn their backs on me sends a strong message that I'm not safe in that place and that there are consequences if I do not follow what they want me to do. Public harassment. Public shame.'
Newcastle's assistant bishop Peter Stuart, who has run the diocese since Thompson went on leave in November following his evidence to the royal commission, said he had been unafraid to stand up to power.
'In his short time as our bishop he has been the catalyst for deep cultural change around the protection of children and the support of victims of abuse,' Stuart said. 'He called us to face our past and in doing so shape a healthy future. This will be his enduring legacy.'