Archbishop Hepworth, the TAC and Ecclesiastical Law

Fr Anthony Chadwick on his newer blog, As the sun in its orb, comments on the news of Archbishop John Hepworth’s suspension from the TAC College of Bishops, which I ‘reproduce [in part] without comment’ here:

I had intended to leave this subject alone as when an article come up on David Virtue’s site about allegations of Archbishop Hepworth having been fiddling money. As for that accusation, I was reassured yesterday by a trustworthy person that the Archbishop’s church accounts had been audited and that everything was perfectly in order. Passons

The story of the Archbishop’s suspension from the TAC, Archbishop John Hepworth Suspended from TAC College of Bishops has been published by David Virtue and reproduced without comment by Fr Smuts in South Africa.

I will just offer a couple of comments. Suspension in any Church is a canonical penalty, which is imposed for a canonical offence. I see no evidence of a trial and judgement…

It is also surprising that Fr Owen Buckton has been nominated to be in charge of a TAC entity whilst he is, by all accounts, fully committed to the future Australian Ordinariate soon to be established. Bishop David Robarts is also alleged to have been fully committed to the Ordinariate in spite of having participated in the College of Bishops meeting in South Africa. If this is true, he would have committed the same “offence” for which Archbishop Hepworth was being suspended.

The news about Bishop Moyer is old hat, though I am sure there is a second side to his story. In any case, Bishop Moyer has in writing expressed his acceptance of no longer being episcopal visitor for England. Postings about the TAC and the Ordinariates will remain extremely rare on this blog, and I will be especially vigilant about comments, but this one had to be answered, at least provisionally pending the availability of evidence…

Read it all.



Archbishop John Hepworth Suspended from TAC College of Bishops

We wake up to the news this morning:

Archbishop John Hepworth Suspended from TAC College of Bishops. Two New Appointments Made. US-based ACA Bishop David L. Moyer relieved of his role as Episcopal Visitor to England.

Virtue Online:

The governing body of the Traditional Anglican Communion yesterday suspended TAC Archbishop John Hepworth from the Church’s College of Bishops, which rendered him ineligible to function as Bishop Ordinary of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia.

The authority has been transferred to Vicar General Fr. Owen Buckton assisted by Bishop David Robarts as Episcopal Authority with immediate effect.

The announcement was made by India-based Archbishop Samuel Prakash, Acting Primate of the TAC. The new administrators of the TAC in Australia are both members of ACCA.

“Hepworth is no longer permitted to serve as Bishop Ordinary of Australia,” Johannesburg-based Bishop Michael Gill, Secretary to the College of Bishops, told VOL.

Fr. Buckton is based in Rockhampton and Bishop Robarts lives in Launceton, Tasmania.

The suspension as Bishop pertains to both the TAC and ACCA. Bishop Hepworth had sought to enter the Roman Catholic Church through the Pope’s offer of an Ordinariate but had been rebuffed following allegations that he had been raped by three priests four decades ago.

He was offered laicization by the Roman Catholic Church but rejected it.

Gill told VOL that Australian traditionalist Anglicans were exceedingly unhappy with all the negative publicity surrounding Hepworth and wanted their voices heard and some action taken by the College of Bishops.

“Our need was to stabilize our people. Archbishop Prakash facilitated that, and is providing wonderful leadership in bringing this to a satisfactory conclusion.”

Gill confirmed that Hepworth indicated that he was intending to tender his resignation just prior to the meeting of the College of Bishops in Johannesburg.

“We accepted his resignation. Now Archbishop Prakash has relieved him of every administrative duty.”

When asked about the current position of Bishop Moyer, Gill said Moyer needs to respond to a letter from Bishop Marsh, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church in America (ACA) the US branch of the TAC, indicating his intentions for the future.

Bishop Craig Botterill of Canada had been appointed as TAC Episcopal visitor to England, replacing Bishop Moyer.