The Archbishop John Hepworth Saga Continues…

This time from The Courier:

The Anglican archbishop at the centre of controversy in Federal Parliament over alleged sexual abuse faced a Ballarat court on theft charges 30 years ago, it was revealed yesterday.

Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon this week used parliamentary privilege to name a priest accused of sexual abuse against Archbishop John Hepworth of the breakaway Traditional Anglican Communion more than 40 years ago.

A decade after the alleged abuse took place, Archbishop Hepworth was charged with misappropriating funds from an Anglican parish in Sebastopol.

He pleaded not guilty in a Ballarat court to the misappropriation of $1200 and said the magistrate failed to find a verdict.

He said he used the funds to pay for his son’s baptism party.

‘’My marriage was breaking up. I was really gone to pieces. And yes, there was a court case. I pleaded not guilty. The magistrate refused to find any verdict. And that was the end of it,’’ he said.

‘’I was trying to stop the marriage breaking up. My then wife wanted a big party and I could not afford it.

‘’The [Anglican] diocese brought [the charge] because I had wrongly used … [a parish account] and regretted it afterwards … I had paid an account intending to pay it back.

“It was as common as that. And it was wrong.’’

Archbishop Hepworth later left the Anglican church and lived in Europe.

It was reported that further allegations of financial irregularities faced the Archbishop during his time in a South Australian parish.

Archbishop Hepworth denies these allegations.

He told The Age he believed his detractors were using the information to smear him as he calls for action from the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide over the alleged sexual abuse which has generated another round of unwanted controversy.

The Courier contacted the registrar of the Anglican Diocese of Ballarat yesterday, but he declined to comment and said the incident was long before any of the current diocesan leaders were in place.

Calls and emails to Archbishop John Hepworth were not returned yesterday.

I must confess that these (ongoing) revelations are all extremely embarrassing. If anything, the Archbishop has exposed himself.


Pope Benedict Travels Home to Germany to Combat Secularism

Pope Benedict XVI embarks on a visit to Germany Sept. 22-25, the third visit to his homeland since he was elected Pope.

The four-day apostolic voyage begins in Berlin, followed by the cities of Erfurt, in the former East Germany (and also where Martin Luther was ordained a priest), and Freiburg im Breisgau, near the Swiss-German border.

This will be a state visit, and, in accordance with protocol, the Holy Father is scheduled to give a historic address to the Federal Parliament in the Reichstag, an event which is eagerly anticipated but has drawn strong opposition from some anti-Church politicians.

Indeed, his visit to the German capital is likely to be the most difficult leg of the trip. A city still caught in the hedonistic spirit of the 1960s, it continues to be a focal point for secularist ideologies. A large number of protests have been planned to coincide with his address, mainly concerning the Church’s teaching on condom use, abortion and homosexuality. The hope is that the protesters won’t turn violent, as they surprisingly did when John Paul II visited the city in 1996.

In face of the opposition, Martin Lohmann, spokesman for the Catholic Caucus in Germany’s ruling CDU Party, said in a published report Sept. 12 he was “amazed how much potential for intolerance lies dormant among the apostles for tolerance,” only to appear when religious leaders visit the country. He warned any politician who decides to be absent from the Pope’s speech “ultimately betrays an incredible fear of truth and clarity.”

According to the general coordinator of the Pope’s trip, Jesuit Father Hans Langendörfer, the Pope is likely to remind the German people that faith must “not be forced into the private sphere, reminding them that religion has an important contribution to make to society.” He is also expected to underline “the continuity of state-church relations” in Germany and give his backing to a “more dynamic” unity in Europe.

In a Sept. 12 interview with Morgenweb, an online German newspaper, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, president of the German bishops’ conference, said he believes the Holy Father will take the opportunity during his parliamentary address to underline “the meaning of the Christian roots of our country and our continent” and stress that the values of “social justice, solidarity, charity, the value of human life in all its phases” grow from the Gospel…

… The motto for the visit is: “Where God is, there the future is.”

Read more in the National Catholic Register here.

We posted the Pope’s schedule for Germany here.


Jerusalem Bishop: Peace will Come from God, not Politicians

Catholic News Agency reports:

Jerusalem, Israel – A Catholic bishop in the Holy Land has called for prayers for peace as tension and violence increase ahead of the Palestine Authority’s request for U.N. recognition.

“The Lord told us to pray for peace. Jerusalem will attain peace through the power of God, and not merely through the acts of politicians,” said Bishop William Shomali, auxiliary bishop of Jerusalem and vicar of the Latin Patriarchate for Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories.

He said prayer was essential because people are yearning for peace and a better life after decades of violence, Aid to the Church in Need reports.

Many Christians have emigrated because of the problems they face.

Bishop Shomali, who comes from the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour near Bethlehem, said it is important that the faithful remain in the region.

“The mission and calling of Christians is to remain in the Holy Land and work toward change,” he said. “We want change, but we want peaceful change.”

The bishop also called for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

The Palestinian leadership’s bid for United Nations-recognized statehood will begin on Sept. 19, according to news reports. It could seek statehood through the Security Council, where the United States has pledged a veto, or it could seek an upgrade of the Palestinian delegation to that of a non-member observer state, like the Holy See.

Observers the vote will provoke fear further clashes in the West Bank. On the morning of Sept. 15, three cars were set alight in the town of Beit Furik, just outside Nablus.

Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib reported an escalation in Israeli settlers’ attacks on Palestinian villages in the West Bank. In the last two weeks there have been several incidents, including attacks on three mosques.

Despite the tensions, Bishop Shomali stressed the importance of visitors to Jerusalem. He encouraged Christians to visit the region. Pilgrimage to the region can help Christians renew their own lives and attain deeper insights into Scripture.

“The Holy Land needs you, and you need the Holy Land,” he said.

Speaking of that tension and violence, I see that Israel today has reinforced the West Bank ahead of the Palestinian bid. The Telegraph has that story here.

Let us pray for peace indeed!



Pope’s Schedule for Germany

Thursday, Sept. 22 (Rome, Berlin)

– 8:15 am, Departure from Rome’s Ciampino airport for Berlin.

– 10:30 am, Arrival at Berlin Tegel Airport. Official welcome.

– 11:15 pm, Welcoming ceremony at Bellevue Palace in Berlin. Speech by the pope.

Courtesy visit with German President Christian Wulff in Bellevue Palace.

– 12:50 pm, Official meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel at the headquarters of the German bishops’ conference in Berlin, next to the Catholic Academy.

– 1:30 pm, Lunch with papal entourage at the Catholic Academy.

– 4:15 pm, Visit to the federal Parliament in the Reichstag Building in Berlin. Speech by the pope.

– 5:15 pm, Meeting with representatives of the Jewish community in a room of the Reichstag Building. Speech by the pope.

– 6:30 pm, Mass in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. Homily by the pope.

Friday, Sept. 23 (Berlin, Erfurt, Etzelsbach)

– 7:15 am, Private Mass in chapel of apostolic nunciature in Berlin.

– 9 am, Meeting with representatives of the Muslim community in reception room of the apostolic nunciature. Speech by the pope.

– 10 am, Departure by plane from Berlin Tegel Airport for Erfurt.

– 10:45 am, Arrival at Erfurt airport.

– 11:15 am, Visit to St Mary’s Cathedral in Erfurt.

– 11:45 am, Meeting with representatives of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, in the Chapter Room of the Monastery of St. Augustine in Erfurt. Speech by the pope.

– 12:20 pm, Ecumenical service in the Church of St. Augustine. Talk by the pope.

– 1:20 pm, Lunch with papal entourage in Erfurt seminary.

– 4:45 pm, Departure in helicopter from Erfurt airport for Etzelsbach.

– 5:30 pm, Arrival at Etzelsbach heliport.

– 5:45 pm, Marian evening prayer service at the Wallfahrtskapelle in Etzelsbach. Talk by the pope.

– 7 pm, Departure in helicopter from Etzelsbach for Erfurt.

– 7:40 pm, Arrival at Erfurt airport.

Saturday, Sept. 24 (Erfurt, Freiburg im Breisgau)

– 9 am, Mass at the Domplatz market square in Erfurt. Homily by the pope.

– 11:50 am, Departure by plane from Erfurt airport for Lahr.

– 12:50 pm, Arrival at Lahr airport.

– 2 pm, Visit to the cathedral of Freiburg im Breisgau.

– 2:15 pm, Encounter with townspeople in Cathedral Square of Freiburg im Breisgau. Greeting by the pope.

– 4:50 pm, Meeting with ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl in seminary of Freiburg im Breisgau.

– 5:15 pm, Meeting with representatives of Orthodox churches in the auditorium of the seminary of Freiburg im Breisgau. Greeting by the pope.

– 5:45 pm, Meeting with seminarians in the Chapel of St. Charles Borromeo in seminary of Freiburg im Breisgau. Greeting by the pope.

– 6:15 pm, Meeting with the council of the Central Committee of German Catholics in the auditorium of the seminary of Freiburg im Breisgau. Speech by the pope.

– 7 pm, Prayer vigil with young people at the trade fair grounds of Freiburg im Breisgau. Speech by the pope.

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Freiburg im Breisgau, Rome)

– 10 am, Mass at tourist airport of Freiburg im Breisgau. Homily by the pope.

Recital of the Angelus. Talk by the pope.

– 12:45 pm, Lunch with members of the German bishops’ conference and papal entourage at seminary of Freiburg im Breisgau.

– 4:20 pm, Meeting with judges of the Federal Constitutional Court in auditorium of the seminary of Freiburg im Breisgau.

– 5 pm, Meeting with Catholics involved in the church and in society in the Concert Hall of Freiburg im Breisgau. Speech by the pope.

– 6:45 pm, Departure ceremony at Lahr airport. Speech by the pope.

– 7:15 pm, Departure in plane from Lahr airport for Rome.

– 8:45 pm, Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino airport.

And if you, like I, are wondering how the 84-year-old pontiff is able to keep up with this and other such gruelling schedules, do give this article a read.

Also of interest today is the Reuters’ article: German Pope ventures into land of Luther and Marx, here.