Archbishop John Hepworth the Martyr?
September 17, 2012 19 Comments
UPDATE: Fr Smuts trashes Archbishop Hepworth by Deborah Gyapong.
An interesting choice of words… But the gloves are mercifully not off… I must however add that I was simply responding to the flawed comments of a one ‘undisclosed Roman Catholic person’ on Fr Anthony Chawick’s blog. Up until this point (his posting), the line had been drawn in the sand. I’m not in the business of trashing anyone, but at the same time one cannot sit idly by while fanciful ecclesiastical legerdemain is left unchecked. Now instead of emotive responses, what we need is to remain objective and simply stick to the facts, as they stand…
Fr Anthony Chadwick has the following posted today:
An undisclosed Roman Catholic person sent me this reflection:
Well, I think +John’s going to the Catholic authorities is what salvaged the little we have for TAC folks going into the Catholic Church. Without John Hepworth’s finding an ally in Cardinal Pell for pursuing the sexual abuse allegations and the findings of the Melbourne independent commission, which brought Archbishop Hart onside, the TAC would have remained entirely discredited as an organization led by a charlatan who would go so far as to make up sex abuse allegations, because that’s what the Adelaide diocese was spreading around with the help of megaphones like NNN. The destruction of his reputation went into full force after the AC came out and that’s when the TAC was effectively barred from any meaningful participation in implementation and Hepworth was out of the loop.
He has fought a bloody battle not only to regain his reputation which was in shreds but to get justice for those of us still standing. Thus we do have a TAC ordinary in Australia and a supportive bishops’ conference (…). I hope this all comes out some day.
There is no provision for comments on this posting.
Fine. Fortunately I have a blog of my own so I’ll comment over here (and anyone else who would like to comment is also more than welcome). See, you don’t get to post such, err… let me say, ‘stuff’, left unchallenged…
The above is all part of an increasing trend that I’ve noticed of late on the blogs that is intended to paint Archbishop John Hepworth as some kind of a martyr who sacrificed himself for the cause of the Ordinariate, which, if I may add, even I could buy into if he was to accept the Church’s judgment and in humility and obedience, be reconciled with the Catholic Church (as a layman) as he so promised (and is expected to do). But as late as June, he was trying to form a dissident ‘Saint Benedict Fellowship’, some kind of quasi-grouping with the intention of joining in ‘sacramental fellowship under the patronage of Saint Benedict, in order to minister to and sustain each other and those Anglicans who share [a] desire for the full, global implementation of the Apostolic Constitution…’ May I remind you that the formation of an Ordinariate in Australia was at this point, already well underway and he knew exactly where he stood in relation to it.
What is very clear is that Archbishop John Hepworth will never be a part of any Ordinariate. He is a Catholic priest who abandoned his priesthood. Laicization is his. To date, he has been unwilling to humble himself and follow through on his convictions and a previous public profession to be prepared to sacrifice his episcopal interests for the sake of unity with Rome. While some may have, we have not forgotten.
Secondly, he has refused to be reconciled with the TAC College of Bishops in a Church that he formally led. By now, it is common knowledge that Archbishop John Hepworth stands accused of financial irregularities and the misappropriation of Church funds. Since his suspension, I have yet to hear of any cooperation or willingness to work with the College of Bishops on his part.
Archbishop Hepworth is indeed ‘out of the loop’ and in no-man’s-land. But that is in and of his own making. The sex abuse allegations dating to over four decades ago, in which he claims to have been raped by three priests, has nothing to do with the TAC or the Ordinariate. It is a personal matter. The timing of his revelation is what was most surprising and questionable… Why, when you are raped by three men as a 24-year-old, do you wait until you are well into your 60’s before laying charges? Contrast if you will, the opinionated comments of our ‘undisclosed Roman Catholic person’ (above), with this:
‘CONTROVERSIAL Anglican Archbishop John Hepworth has offered to drop demands for action over rape allegations against a senior priest identified in Parliament.
In exchange he would like help to return to the Catholic Church.’
Yes, we are all entitled to our opinions, no matter how wide of the mark they may be…
And, btw. if you’re looking for the ‘bloody battle’ fought, then look no further than this.