An Australian archbishop says he will stand aside but does not intend to resign after becoming the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the world to be convicted of covering up child sex abuse.

Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson was convicted Tuesday of concealing the sexual abuse of two altar boys by a pedophile priest in the 1970s.

The 67-year-old who suffers the early stages of Alzheimer's disease was released on bail and faces a prison term of up to two years when he appears in court next month for sentencing.

Wilson said on Wednesday he would stand aside on Friday after the necessary administrative arrangements had been put in place to manage his archdiocese.

He has not said whether he is considering an appeal.