Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Meet

For the first time:

Pope Francis met the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, for the first time this morning.

In an address after the meeting the Pope said Catholics and Anglicans should work together to challenge secular society, especially on subjects such as “the sacredness of human life or the importance of the institution of the family built on marriage”.

He also stressed the importance of calling for an “economic system that is at the service of man” and of “giving a voice to the cry of the poor”.

Both leaders remarked on the coincidence of their March installations. Francis celebrated his inaugural Mass on March 19 two days before Justin Welby was enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Before the meeting Archbishop Welby and his wife, Caroline, were expected to visit the tomb of St Peter beneath St Peter’s Basilica before stopping to pray at the tomb of Blessed Pope John Paul II.

You can read the complete translation Pope Francis discourse at the meeting, followed by the complete text of Archbishop Welby’s address over at Vatican Radio here.

Both are very diplomatic.

Naturally, Pope Francis would have had to touch on the raw nerve:

I am grateful, too, for the sincere efforts the Church of England has made to understand the reasons that led my Predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, to provide a canonical structure able to respond to the wishes of those groups of Anglicans who have asked to be received collectively into the Catholic Church: I am sure this will enable the spiritual, liturgical and pastoral traditions that form the Anglican patrimony to be better known and appreciated in the Catholic world.

The BBC also reports on the meeting, as does the Guardian.



Virtue on Hepworth Latest

Virtue Online:

Australian Roman Catholic Monsignor Ian Dempsey was cleared of all charges relating to accusations of homosexual assault made by the former Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) John Hepworth. Monsignor Dempsey returned to work last week after he had stood aside for 12 months.

“I think my case rests that I have been unjustly and maliciously, falsely accused by John Hepworth of acts that were never committed,” he wrote in an e-mail to VOL.

The Monsignor said the Director of Public Prosecutions, Adam Kimber SC, issued the following statement, “Today this Office has advised both Bishop Hepworth and Monsignor Dempsey’s solicitor that no charge/s will be laid with respect to the matter. The Director does not propose to make any further comment about the matter”.

Dempsey, who holds the rank of Monsignor, is also a parish priest of Brighton/Hallett Cove parishes in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. He has also been Director General of Navy Chaplains, Vicar General of the Adelaide Archdiocese, and was awarded Officer of Order of Australia (AO).

Dempsey thanked VOL for its support of him through the crisis. “The support of all who know me is the good that comes from the evil.”

Hepworth has fallen on hard times. He was expelled as Archbishop of the Traditional Anglican Communion when eight bishops brought charges against him for financial irregularities. He was subsequently found guilty. Following his expulsion he formed the Saint Benedict Fellowship. It is not known if he has any followers or how many.

Hepworth, who was instrumental in seeking his church’s reunion with Rome, was forced to resign as the global head of the TAC in April, seven months after he raised allegations that he had been raped by Adelaide priest Ian Dempsey and two others in the 1960s.

His American disciple, David Moyer, was created a bishop in the Anglican Church in America (ACA/TAC), but has since renounced that position. He was formerly a priest in the Episcopal Church, The Diocese of Pittsburgh, The Anglican Province of Central Africa, The Anglican Church in America and, more recently he has sought entry into the Roman Catholic Church through a papal offering of an Ordinariate for Anglicans wishing to enter Rome while still retaining certain Anglican practices. His application was denied.

Hepworth who lives in Adelaide did not return e-mails seeking a response to this story.

How strange, he used to love Virtue Online.

I wrote in support of Msgr Dempsey from the start. And again, I think he should seriously consider suing Hepworth for his good name that was so viciously slandered.




New Website for Anglican Communion News Service

Anglican Communion News Service has a new website.

The news service of the Anglican Communion has today launched its first ever purpose-built news website

The site comes almost 20 years after the electronic news service was first launched. Since then subscribers around the world have received thousands of news articles via email…

So if you care to read about things like the Revd Judith Alltree’s severe wheat allergy and her use of gluten-free communion wafers in Toronto, then you are more than welcome.

The website is here.