Writes Fr Ed Bakker:
Dear Blessed People of God,
My Collegue blogger Deborah , who runs a blog on foolish things (click on
the link here to access it) could not resist to give the Traditional Anglican Communion a bit of kick and paint a lesser dark picture of former Archbishop John Hepworth of The Traditional Anglican Communion.I am a former TAC Priest and I know Archbishop John well and am familiar with a number of the goings on in his Adelaide office and generally with the way he ran the TAC. I left the TAC because I did not want to become a Roman Catholic, but others Priests left the TAC because Archbishop John cancelled their license, because they dared to disagree with his policies. Deboarh I felt that your comments need an answer and I first of all repeat here what you said on your blog:
Seems Archbishop Hepworth is winning on the public relations front
Posted on October 19, 2012
The new TAC tribunal convicted Archbishop Hepworth in absentia, without anyone representing him, and have published a statement that does not even list the charges Hepworth faced.
Fr. Smuts has the statement. Seems the new TAC is not winning the battle for public opinion on this one, though perhaps some new TACkers will suddenly develop multiple email aliases to make it seem this tribunal acted in a just and merciful manner.
You can go over to Fr. Smuts’ site to read all about it.
I wish the new TAC would cut their losses and move on. What pound of flesh do they wish to extract from Archbishop Hepworth? He is pushing 70, with no pension save for what the Australian government offers seniors. Will they now go after his house so he is thrown out onto the street? If the new TAC thinks this is a way to evangelize and grow new members, I hope they rethink the optics of their campaign.
The archbishop remains in my prayers as do others who are experiencing the brunt of his debacle.
First of all the reason Archbishop Hepworth was judged in his absence was his unwillingness to go to India and stand trial. He was quoted to say in the Australian papers that the TAC’s tribunal was in la la land. You are talking about someone to represent him. Considering the background , I am not sure whether anyone would be keen to take this on. His former mate Chancellor Peter Slipper was offcourse in no position to help his friend. He is in deep trouble himself. Deborah you will need to bear in mind that Archbishop Hepworth tried to sack Bishop Robarts, who questioned financial irregularities ( that is probably to say it mildly) – this is how Abp John dealt with anyone , who dared to speak up. Fortunately Bishop Robarts was able to secure his position and it is to his credit that he took the issue on. There is also the fact that Archbishop Hepworth failed to leave an alternative for those in the ACCA/TAC who were not going to go Rome.
It could be said that the Tribunal could have been a bit clearer of what Archbishop Hepworth was going to be charged with. Those of us who know all the background do know. I think if he is found guilt , then it must be referred to the Australian Police.
It is good Deborah that you are praying for Archbishop Hepworth, he needs all our prayers , but what strikes me and many others , that there is no remission of guilt , he even pretended to be back in his former role and was quoted in the papers offering Peter Slipper a job as a Priest in the TAC and he is offcourse in no position to do that. As the current Vicar General of the ACCA/TAC rightly pointed out : ” no way”.
It is rediculous to suggest that the TAC uses the court proceedings as a new way of evangelizing , I dont think they Bishops got together in India for the fun of it. Look if someone commits financial fraud and spends money recklessly, then that person should bear the consequences. You are going to be too soppy about all this.
Also there is no new TAC, it is the same TAC minus some who have gone to Rome.Also the TAC is not running a popularity conequest, not many Churches can do that anyway, especially the Roman Catholic Diocese of Melbourne with the public enquiry in years of sexual abuse by its Priests. Also we have not forgotten the story about the goings on in the Boston RC Diocese , someone is now making a movie about this. But I am getting of track.
Archbishop John Hepworth knew exactly what he was planning when he took his Bishops to Portsmouth to sign compliance with the Roman Catholic Catechism. But.. it is a pity that a number of Bishops signed this document blindly and then pulled out. Union in Holy Communion is fine , but many of us know that Rome will never buy that, so it was Union by absorption. The sad part is that there was very little communication from the Adelaide office to Clergy and laypeople alike what was going on in the TAC. Little room for consultation. Years ago we used to call his office the ” black hole of Adelaide”. Why ? Plenty of stuff went in, but nothing came out.
It looks to me that the whole Church of God needs a complete overhaul when it comes to Bishops , Priests and Deacons with sound integrity.Mission by exemple and by encouragement. Perhaps we can focus on that , not only in the TAC, but also in the Roman Catholic Church.
And just before I go Deborah, dont worry about + John being on the street, there some waiting in the wings with an open cheque book.
Jesus have mercy on us, Mary pray for us,
Father Ed Bakker OPR
For what it’s worth, there is absolutely nothing for Archbishop John Hepworth to win here. He is, if anything, Deborah, a ‘public relations’ nightmare. In the process of having self-destructed, and that in spectacular fashion, he has made a total mockery of the Church and brought into disrepute the precious One she represents. Accountable, he will be held…
UPDATE: Deborah Gyapong responds.