Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson has been found guilty of concealing child sex abuse during the 1970s in the NSW Hunter region.
Wilson, 67, was accused of covering up abuse by priest Jim Fletcher.
Magistrate Robert Stone handed down the verdict in Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday following a magistrate-only trial.
The clergyman is the most senior Catholic official in the world to be charged and convicted of the offence.
Wilson, who has been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, claims to have no memory of a 1976 conversation he had with one of the alleged victims.
His lawyers had argued Wilson is not guilty because there is no evidence to prove the archbishop was told about the abuse, believed it was true or remembered being told about it.
He now faces a potential two-year prison sentence.