Fr Anthony Chadwick comments:
Until now, I have kept silence on this subject as brought up by Fr Smuts in Statement from the The Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops Re: John Hepworth, with the exception of writing a comment on that blog asking about the possibility of having the exact wording of the charges of which the Archbishop was accused…
It seems to me that a canonical trial should be a public procedure. There should at least be a publication of the charges and a reasoned conclusion leading to the court’s sentence. All we read is that the Archbishop was found guilty, with a vague reference to the TAC Concordat, and the sentence. Several have made the same observation that the charges leading to the conviction are missing.
Now, I am not going to take a position in all this or express any personal feelings. I have spent a sufficient time without contact with the Archbishop to verify my own independence from any influence he might have had on me. This was important to me as my intuition told me that many things he said to me just didn’t ring right or were actually false, for example the assurances that Rome was going to grant special dispensations for some canonical irregularities or whether Anglicanorum coetibus was about whole churches or just cherry-picked clergy and communities. The facts as they stand are now clear and there is no further discussion. Only time would verify things, since a priest tends to trust one’s ordinary – a part of ecclesiastical obedience, I principle I believe in. Yet my critical faculties were unimpaired – but I just had to keep quiet and wait. In a way, he did lead us up the garden path. The only question was why and whether he had a mitigating circumstance for telling untruths and lies.
I don’t know why he wasn’t truthful. Bad personality? Psychological problems because of the sex abuse and / or other reasons? Ambition? Being a common crook? I have my theories, but they will probably never be verified. He was kind to me, gave me something like a canonical mission as a priest, a kind of “regularisation” and appeared to be heading a credible church on two counts: he was in dialogue with Rome and some good serious bishops were following him and trusted him as I did.
The events of September 2011 and the Australian press did not impress me, nor has the Peter Slipper affair. If the Archbishop was in good faith, his judgement was appalling. His appearance in a recent video is bizarre and incongruous. On these counts, I am unable to defend him in any way.
The bishops who have now condemned him once trusted him. Perhaps the Archbishop betrayed that trust by not effectively ensuring a “third way” between the growing anti-Roman Catholic tendency and the Ordinariates. I understand bitterness, but it is a passion to overcome to avoid falling into sin. We are Christians!
Read the whole post here.