Priest Denies Any Sex with Traditional Anglican Archbishop

‘You did not even bother to find out about any matter relevant to this case except from one source, John Hepworth.’

The Age reports on this apparent injustice:

The Catholic priest accused of raping Archbishop John Hepworth says he’s never had sex of any kind with the breakaway Anglican group leader.

Monsignor Ian Dempsey says it was “totally unfair and unjust” of Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon to name him under parliamentary privilege as a rapist and to raise the spectre of pedophilia.

The senator says he named Monsignor Dempsey because the church had taken too long to address rape claims raised four years ago. However, he made no reference to underage sex.

In a letter to the senator, Monsignor Dempsey said he had irreparably damaged his good name.

He said the rape allegations were false and were only formally raised earlier this year. He also had no influence over the timing of church investigations.

“I have a reputation for honesty and integrity,” Monsignor Dempsey wrote.

“You did not even bother to find out about any matter relevant to this case except from one source, John Hepworth.

“You never contacted me.

“You have shot the wounded – you who proclaim to be an advocate of those who are hurting in society.”

Monsignor Dempsey, who is recovering from a life-threatening illness, said he had never had sex of any kind, consensual or not, with Archbishop Hepworth.

“Certainly not,” he told ABC radio in Adelaide.

Senator Xenophon had been totally unjust, he said.

“In the Senate … I remember Senator Xenophon said that parents and children attending the church should be aware of my activities, or alleged activities.

“That, I thought, was totally unfair and unjust.”

Senator Xenophon said he never suggested Monsignor Dempsey raped Archbishop Hepworth when he was underage.

“What I have said at all times, both in and out of the Senate chamber, relates to allegations between two adults, and I want to make that absolutely clear,” he told ABC radio.

Archbishop Hepworth, 67, recently said he was the victim of violent rapes by three priests that began in 1960, when he was 15.

Archbishop Hepworth, who is now the primate of the splinter group Traditional Anglican Communion in Adelaide, was an adult when allegedly raped by Monsignor Dempsey.

Archbishop Hepworth has said he broke away from the Catholic Church because of the abuse.



Is it Over for the Traditional Anglican Communion?

Writes Fr Anthony Chadwick:

I have been reading some of what Sir Michael LaRue of the Order of Malta has been writing about the situation of the TAC and Pope Benedict XVI’s ordinariate project.

(…) according to what he has said in the Australian press, Abp. Hepworth’s personal case and status in Adelaide have effected his role as chief negotiator of the TAC with the Holy See. Thus this is, according to him (and I have no cause to disbelieve him), an impediment to the success of those negotiations. (…)

Sir Michael’s reaction was expressed in a comment in this blog and on his own blog. Paraphrasing his concepts, if all clergy in the two situations of canonical irregularity mentioned in the Complementary Norms attached to Anglicanorum Coetibus (Article 6 §2) removed themselves, would this “unlock” the situation for the various groups composing the TAC in their movement towards the future ordinariates? He is:

– respectfully asking that all those, now serving as clergy in Anglican bodies, who are former Roman clergy, or have been previously in invalid marital situations, make it clear publicly that they are not only firmly resolved to enter the Catholic church as laymen, but that they will not ever seek to be ordained or to function as Catholic priests in the future.

It is a big risk to take, and such a notion – if it represents the present dispositions of the CDF – asks the bishops and priests who are in regular marriages and have never been Roman Catholics to break ranks and make their own way to their local delegate or the CDF. The prospect saddens me…

Read on here.

And, as I commented over there:

If men are found ‘wanting’ in the eyes of Holy Church, then so it is. That would be a judgement call on the part of the Church of God, no doubt, after due and thorough examination. Perhaps it would be nothing but the greatest of witnesses, if those who are indeed discerned to be in one or two of the situations listed as Canonically irregular, choose voluntarily to step down and thus enter the Catholic Church as laymen. I know of a number of former Anglican Clergymen who have made this bold profession of faith in Christ and His Church. And what would the obstacle be to such an object lesson in humility? I can but think of one: Pride.