So I have no idea on whose behalf Archbishop John Hepworth was presuming to speak when he made those insane comments regarding Peter Slipper last week. Further, good people, do meet Fr Michael Pope, who is the official leader of the Anglican Catholic Church (TAC) Australia:
THE church which ordained former Speaker Peter Slipper as a priest has washed its hands of the problem-plagued MP.
Father Michael Pope, leader of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia (ACCA), said the “disgraceful” politician was “absolutely not” welcome despite claims to the contrary from a former archbishop.
“He is not a priest in good standing in our church,” Fr Pope said.
“I certainly don’t want him back and I don’t know anyone who does.”
The Acting Vicar-General said Mr Slipper, now an Independent MP in the seat of Fisher, had never had a licence to practise as a parish priest.
“When it comes to the ordinance of priests, the person still remains a priest even when he has in fact been stripped of his ability to practise,” he said.
“He’s never been a parish priest, he will never be a parish priest and he certainly will never be accepted back into the ACCA.”
Mr Slipper, 62, has been accused of sexually harassing his former media adviser James Ashby. He denies the accusations.
Father Pope, based at Mount Russell in northwest NSW, said he was “aghast” at the “despicable” text messages about female genitalia, sent to Mr Ashby, which were revealed in court proceedings.
“To talk that way about women is a ghastly thing to do – it’s insufferable,” he said.
The ACCA, which is an independent church within the international Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), has about 400 members across the country.
Former archbishop John Hepworth, who ordained Mr Slipper a priest and appointed him chancellor, resigned from the church in August.
Bishop Hepworth, Mr Slipper’s long-time friend and religious mentor, is being investigated over alleged financial irregularities within the ACCA but has denied any wrongdoing.
Fr Pope said Mr Slipper’s ordination as a priest in 2008 had made a “mockery” of the church.
“It’s nonsense. It’s a wicked use of the sacrament,” he said. “People were aghast to know he had been ordained. There was no consultation (with the people and the clergy).”
But Bishop Hepworth previously told The Courier-Mail that he “oversaw Peter in an intensive theological reading time for several years”.
Meanwhile a church member said he believed Mr Slipper’s ordination had been strategic and viewed as “a good thing” as the MP was perceived to be “on the way up”.
Mr Slipper was yesterday unreachable.
Thank you for this moment of clarity (and sanity) Fr Pope! Our prayers will certainly be with you down there…
HT: Sandra McColl