28 Nov 2017

Letter from Archbishop Wilson

Archbishop Wilson.jpg

To the priests, deacons, religious brothers and sisters, and all the People of God in the Archdiocese of Adelaide,

I wish to share with you some important information about my health.
On October 11 this year, I had a nasty fall and injured my head. I was unconscious for a small amount of time and I lost a lot of blood. The blood thinner medication I take contributed to the significant blood loss.

In the weeks following this event, some of my colleagues noticed that I was not myself and advised me to have a number of medical tests.

As a result of those tests, it was determined that I needed a pacemaker attached to my heart, and the neurological tests have diagnosed that I have Alzheimer’s disease.

And all this has been occurring while I have been preparing for the trial that begins today (November 28, 2017) in Newcastle, NSW. I have informed the Court about my recent diagnoses which I hope will not prevent the process from at least starting. However, I am advised that it is now solely a matter for the Court to determine what will need to happen from this point.  

Of course, I am aware that the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is one that will alarm many people.

It is a present reality that much stigma is still associated with Alzheimer’s disease. An initial reaction by many people is to think that life is all but over, and that a person with such a diagnosis cannot continue to live a productive life and contribute to society. I am fully aware that some people will now judge me in this light. But I hope to prove them wrong!

I have been prescribed medication that may assist me greatly in slowing the progress of this disease and indeed improve my present condition and I will, of course, see my neurologist regularly for testing and medical support. However, if a point comes in the next 8 years before my mandatory retirement as Archbishop of Adelaide, at 75 years of age, and I am advised by my doctors that the effects of Alzheimer’s disease might be beginning to impair my ability to function properly as Archbishop, I will offer my resignation to the Holy Father.

I have informed Pope Francis’ Ambassador in Australia, the Apostolic Nuncio, of my diagnoses and will provide him with the medical reports from my specialist physicians and I will update him regularly with the results of tests and consultations with my neurologist during the years ahead.

With the grace of God, I am at peace with the situation in which I now find myself. I am in God’s hands and I trust in the love and care of the Lord on the journey of life I have before me.

I ask that you take this information that I am providing to you calmly and peacefully. There is no cause for panic. I will continue to be present to you with all the love I have for the Archdiocese of Adelaide. And I intend to reach out to others who live with the Alzheimer’s condition and to be a sign of support and encouragement to them.

Yours sincerely
Most Rev Philip Wilson DD JCL
Archbishop of Adelaide

 Circular - Archbishop Philip Wilson DD JCL 1440 281117.pdf

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