Archbishop John Hepworth the Martyr?

UPDATEFr Smuts trashes Archbishop Hepworth by Deborah Gyapong.

An interesting choice of words… But the gloves are mercifully not off… I must however add that I was simply responding to the flawed comments of a one ‘undisclosed Roman Catholic person’ on Fr Anthony Chawick’s blog. Up until this point (his posting), the line had been drawn in the sand. I’m not in the business of trashing anyone, but at the same time one cannot sit idly by while fanciful ecclesiastical legerdemain is left unchecked.  Now instead of emotive responses, what we need is to remain objective and simply stick to the facts, as they stand…


Fr Anthony Chadwick has the following posted today:

I have updated the TAC Archive , in its September 2012 page with material recently published in the Australian press concerning Archbishop Hepworth.

An undisclosed Roman Catholic person sent me this reflection:

Well, I think +John’s going to the Catholic authorities is what salvaged the little we have for TAC folks going into the Catholic Church. Without John Hepworth’s finding an ally in Cardinal Pell for pursuing the sexual abuse allegations and the findings of the Melbourne independent commission, which brought Archbishop Hart onside, the TAC would have remained entirely discredited as an organization led by a charlatan who would go so far as to make up sex abuse allegations, because that’s what the Adelaide diocese was spreading around with the help of megaphones like NNN. The destruction of his reputation went into full force after the AC came out and that’s when the TAC was effectively barred from any meaningful participation in implementation and Hepworth was out of the loop.

He has fought a bloody battle not only to regain his reputation which was in shreds but to get justice for those of us still standing. Thus we do have a TAC ordinary in Australia and a supportive bishops’ conference (…). I hope this all comes out some day.

There is no provision for comments on this posting.

Fine. Fortunately I have a blog of my own so I’ll comment over here (and anyone else who would like to comment is also more than welcome). See, you don’t get to post such, err… let me say, ‘stuff’, left unchallenged…

The above is all part of an increasing trend that I’ve noticed of late on the blogs that is intended to paint Archbishop John Hepworth as some kind of a martyr who sacrificed himself for the cause of the Ordinariate, which, if I may add, even I could buy into if he was to accept the Church’s judgment and in humility and obedience, be reconciled with the Catholic Church (as a layman) as he so promised (and is expected to do). But as late as June, he was trying to form a dissident ‘Saint Benedict Fellowship’, some kind of quasi-grouping with the intention of joining in ‘sacramental fellowship under the patronage of Saint Benedict, in order to minister to and sustain each other and those Anglicans who share [a] desire for the full, global implementation of the Apostolic Constitution…’ May I remind you that the formation of an Ordinariate in Australia was at this point, already well underway and he knew exactly where he stood in relation to it.

What is very clear is that Archbishop John Hepworth will never be a part of any Ordinariate. He is a Catholic priest who abandoned his priesthood. Laicization is his. To date, he has been unwilling to humble himself and follow through on his convictions and a previous public profession to be prepared to sacrifice his episcopal interests for the sake of unity with Rome. While some may have, we have not forgotten.

Secondly, he has refused to be reconciled with the TAC College of Bishops in a Church that he formally led. By now, it is common knowledge that Archbishop John Hepworth stands accused of financial irregularities and the misappropriation of Church funds. Since his suspension, I have yet to hear of any cooperation or willingness to work with the College of Bishops on his part.

Archbishop Hepworth is indeed ‘out of the loop’ and in no-man’s-land. But that is in and of his own making. The sex abuse allegations dating to over four decades ago, in which he claims to have been raped by three priests, has nothing to do with the TAC or the Ordinariate. It is a personal matter. The timing of his revelation is what was most surprising and questionable… Why, when you are raped by three men as a 24-year-old, do you wait until you are well into your 60’s before laying charges? Contrast if you will, the opinionated comments of our ‘undisclosed Roman Catholic person’ (above), with this:

‘CONTROVERSIAL Anglican Archbishop John Hepworth has offered to drop demands for action over rape allegations against a senior priest identified in Parliament.

In exchange he would like help to return to the Catholic Church.’

Yes, we are all entitled to our opinions, no matter how wide of the mark they may be…

And, btw. if you’re looking for the ‘bloody battle’ fought, then look no further than this.



What Strengthens Faith

Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Church gives us nine points to strengthen our faith.

1. Confidence in God’s qualities:
Pope Shenouda suggests that we “put in our heart that God is a doer of benevolence.” He quotes St. Paul, “All things work together for good to those who love God.” (Rom 8:28) We should view God as a living Father who treats all his children with tenderness and gives them good gifts. We must have confidence in God’s ability to do anything. Remember that He “loves and wants benevolences for you.” Abraham had such faith when he took his Son Isaac to be sacrificed. He had confidence that God was able to raise him from the dead so he did not fear for his son. God is “A father of many nations in the presence of Him whom he believed–God who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” (Rom 4:17) We can also have confidence in His judgement and that His planning is for our God inver though we may not understand it.

2. Confidence in the sincerity of God’s timing:
He points out that God promised Abram (Abraham) that He would give him descendants which He did after along time. He also promised His people freedom from captivity and did free them from the Egyptians. He promised He would send the Holy Spirit to all people (Joel 2:28) and he did on the day of Pentecost. The Bible shows us many such stores of his promises and their fulfillment according to His timing.

3. Look unto God and not unto the surrounding circumstances:
Recall the story of David and Goliath. If David had looked at the mighty Goliath he might have been afraid, but through faith he instead looked to God knowing He would guide his hand. (1Sam 17) No matter the circumstances we ind ourselves, we must look to our faith and let it permeate our heart knowing that the loving God is able to do anything. We can’t be controlled by the power of our enemies or circumstances but in faith seek help from God who will rescue us from them.

4. The Stories of faith and companionship with men of faith:
Read the stories in the Bible and the saints about those who lived with faith and try to absorb faith from them. Pope Shenouda says, “Whenever a person reads stories about faith, about the confidence in God and miracles happened with His Saints, his heart will be filled with faith and he will come to love this life full of faith.”

5. Humility of Heart and mind:
We need humility to accept “what comes from God with satisfaction.” We must admit that our minds are limited. We must be able to say before God: “Your wishes O Lord are above my understanding and Your works are above my knowledge. Who am I in front of You? All my knowledge is ignorance in front of You.” We should remember what Luke recorded and ask for the faith of children and not rely on that of philosophers or other . (Luke 10:21)

6. The Experience with God
When we surrender to God we can “live with Him and test Him, try to rely on Him, and at that time you will see His miracles working in you.” Associate with Him so that you know who He is as David the prophet said, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps 34:8)

7. See God is all things:
Some say when they learn that man can destroy the atom and use nuclear energy, “How great is the human mind.” But one who believes in God will say, “Glory to you God the creator of this human mind and all the possibilities You have revealed about the power you have put into nature. Or when a sick person is cured, do not not simply give praise to the doctor, but give thanks to God for the ability of this person to heal. Search for God’s work in all aspects of your daily life. When you see a beautiful flower do not simply describe or examine it like a botanist, but praise the Lord for the beauty He has created. The Prophet David tells us, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” (Ps 19:1) Admire the moon and the stars in the sky and remember God who created all we know. “Do not separate God’s creations from Him.”

8. Take the Lord as your friend:
When you “accept His friendship and love, you will enter the real faith… you will look forward to seeing Him as a friend to tell Him your secrets, and enjoy His companionship and love…you will take care as a friend not to hurt His feelings or make Him angry.

9. Prayer for the sake of Faith:

Pray for you faith that it may grow and increase.

Tell Him: Give me O Lord, that I believe in You with full faith. Give me that I love and have confidence in You in everything, and to believe that You do me benevolences even if the world was dark in front of me. Let me feel that my mind is much smaller to understand Your wisdom and judgment. I know that You are a doer of benevolences, that You are loving, that You see everything and that You are capable of doing everything, and in spite of that my faith often weakens… so help my weak faith.

Reference: Life in Faith, pp 109-122




Anglican Cathedral (TAC) in Orlando Becomes Catholic

Via Seasons of Grace:

It’s been five years in the making, and this morning the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Orlando, Florida will become Catholic.At a Mass of Reception at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, September 16, the Cathedral of the Incarnation, which was formerly associated with the Anglican Church of America, will become the Parish of Incarnation—joining about twenty other former Anglican or Episcopal congregations to be accepted in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, the personal ordinariate established as a home for Anglican converts to Catholicism in the United States and Canada.

Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, a former Episcopal bishop who now leads the Personal Ordinariate, will confirm the parishioners as Catholic during the Sunday service.

Bishop John Noonan, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando, will participate in the liturgy, but the Parish of Incarnation will not become part of Orlando’s diocese.  Carol Brinati, spokesperson for the Orlando Diocese, explained, “While we recognize them as part of the Catholic church, they have their own services.  We share our beliefs, but everything else is separate.”

The impetus for many former Episcopalians and Anglicans who have sought entry into the Catholic Church has been the increasing liberalization of the Anglican Church—which has in recent years broken with tradition by ordaining women and gays as bishops and accepting homosexual marriage.

In July 1980, Pope John Paul II, responding to requests received from some priests and laity formerly or actually belonging to the Episcopal Church in the United States, had decided to make a special Pastoral Provision for their reception into full communion with the Catholic Church.  The Pastoral Provision provided a mechanism by which married, former priests coming from the Episcopal Church could be ordained in the Catholic Church, and personal worship communities could be created which would be allowed to retain elements of the Anglican liturgy.

And in November 2009, Pope Benedict XVI issued the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, an unprecedented invitation for Anglicans to become Catholic in groups or as parishes.  Anglicanorum Coetibus established the canonical structure for the personal ordinariates—which serve like dioceses, but which are national in scope.  Currently three personal ordinariates  have been established:  the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (serving the United States and Canada), the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (in England and Wales), and the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (in Australia).