Still More on Archbishop John Hepworth…

The bloggers are rehashing the Archbishop John Hepworth situation today:

The official TAC position (lest we forget in all the natter), a Statement from The Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops Re: John Hepworth, is here.

The Traditional Anglican Communion


The Tribunal of the Traditional Anglican Communion comprising Archbishop Samuel Prakash (India), Bishop Craig Botterill (Canada) and Bishop Brian Marsh (USA) on 6 October 2012 examined the charges brought by eight (8) Bishops against Archbishop John Anthony Hepworth under Section 10 of the Concordat of the Traditional Anglican Communion, and delivered the verdict that Archbishop John Anthony Hepworth was guilty as charged.

The following sanction was imposed:


2. THAT all licences for any EPISCOPAL or PRIESTLY function within any affiliated church of the TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN COMMUNION, be with immediate effect withdrawn.

Charges under Section 6 of the Concordat are now being considered by the College of Bishops against Archbishop John Anthony Hepworth.

South Africa
17th October 2012

Bishop Michael Gill
Secretary to the College of Bishops
Traditional Anglican Communion


That is where we stand at present. There is nothing new to report as yet.


Hepworth Redux

A day ago someone in Australia who goes by the name ‘Jay Walk’ (no, that’s not Gay Walk) has conveniently uploaded a video which has been entitled: Traditional Anglican bishops sign Catechism Catholic Church Portsmouth UK October 2007.

Deborah Gyapong has today conveniently put it to good use, setting the stage for yet another blog post forming part of her ongoing series of  posts coming out in defence of Archbishop John Hepworth. Her blog remains the only sanctuary left for him on the blogosphere. Her loyalty, albeit so misplaced, is most admirable. Me? I’m tired of fighting the Hepworthian PR machine… All the lies that are so quickly and easily spread, half-truths, deceit, conduct unbecoming, schismatic behaviour, slander, an unwillingness to repent, collusion, failing to admit any accountability, the refusal to work with fellow Bishops, running off to the secular media (or anyone else who is willing to listen), endorsing Slipper, making unsanctioned press releases, using the TAC as a bargaining tool to orchestrate his hoped for glorious return to the Catholic Church, not following through on his own word, the promises (is he a Catholic layman yet, and if not, why not?), the arrogance, the self-pity… It has been a long and taxing fight that includes:

There’s so much more. It has, indeed, been a long, sick and sordid story. Unchristian. So what, I must ask, is the point Deborah? Archbishop John Hepworth has been charged and found guilty, sanctioned by a Church (TAC) that he in any event does not want to be in. What more is there?

It’s time, I’d suggest, to look forward. You have an Ordinariate. You are part of that. Those who wanted to go went. Others stayed. Why still bother with the TAC and her internal processes? Why the bitterness?

Not so long ago, I said:

The Archbishop is media obsessed and sadly has become somewhat infectious. Someone who is in error and is to be avoided as such.

And Fr Robert responded:

… this man [Hepworth] and issues should be a “dead” subject, lets all move on now.  The Lord will deal with him, in divine providence!

PS.  I’m only really left curious on one thing: Who is Gay Walk, oops, I mean, Jay Walk, the one who so opportunely posted the above lame, boring, soundless video to YouTube. Please, do tell us Deborah.

UPDATE:  See also, the impact of Bishop Hepworth’s handy work, here.


Zealous Commentating

JC Ryle once noted:

Not all zeal is right – it may be a zeal without knowledge.

Now blogger Deborah Gyapong seems to have fallen foul of one particular zealot, a Patrick, who goes by the handle: Patrick-TAC. Regrettably, he writes:


I dont know what your name implies about you, however I recalled relating unhappyness with Roman Catholic decision to join only to Deborah and I indicated how instead of thinking about Ordinariate but her efforts are to judge TAC Bishop’s decisions. Let me help you here the letter was seeking communion and please read the difference between communion and absorption, you talk of repudiation of offer and yet you think signing of CCC of Rome binds people. I do not know why dont you ask your auhorities as to why do they give an offer to people whom they own if its what you think of your CCC has. They must teach you why they gave an offer if CCC binds TAC Bishops who requeste communion please do not be naive, why are your athorities not seeking redress to take our finances and buildings if they own our Bishops. Please think again and understand the contents of the letter from TAC to Roman Catholics.There is no new TAC you are instead diminished in your understanding of faith and think that your opinion is the one that is better to anyone if you think Roman Catholic is the only true Catholic Church.I hope you will take back your hepworth and make him your Priest again as he belong with you.The same TAC which declined your Roman Catholic Church’s offer is going forward in faith and does not bother about what Roman catholics are doing but is instead focusing more like never before on its mission of preaching the Gospel of Christ. You act like the rest of figitives who are not haappy in their choices, who thought TAC was finished like your athourities, HA HA HA think again the TAC is young vibrant and is stronger like before.It is still the same TAC thats why it responded to decline the offer, as it is the same TAC which requested only COMMUNION and not absorption.

As you can see, the above comment clearly lacks grace and charity, it cannot be condoned, and serves only to scratch open wounds. Deborah responds to him over here. The whole thing is stinging and so very unnecessary. Nothing will ever be resolved like this.

Speaking from experience, Patrick is one fanatically committed person. He has been on my blog before, and from what I can gather, hails from this neck of the woods (South Africa). Sadly however, when one is arrogant, rude, exclusive and patronising, you are in effect, unconstructive and unhelpful. And this is the sad net result of his zeal:

Maybe some day the TAC will grow up back to the stature it had reached in 2007 before its implosion and reconstitution as just some other Continuing Anglican Church.

In the meantime, I am happy to see Bishop Gill is going to be ordaining new priests and deacons and I hope many come to Christ through the evangelizing of the new TAC’s clergy and people.

I guess, too, we who have joined Ordinariates, have to show the world we have not been absorbed, but are flourishing within the Catholic Church with our Anglican patrimony beautifully nourished and protected.

If the new TAC wants me to stop discussing the new TAC, then move on, focus on evangelization, stop trying to rewrite history, and stop coming over here and commenting on my blog!   If what I write here upsets you, then please stop reading, making assertions that cannot be left to stand and inspiring me to write more.



Is Archbishop John Hepworth Winning on the Public Relations Front ?

Writes Fr Ed Bakker:

Dear Blessed People of God,

My Collegue blogger Deborah , who runs a blog on foolish things (click on
the link here to access it)
 could not resist to give the Traditional Anglican Communion a bit of kick and paint a lesser dark picture of former Archbishop John Hepworth of The Traditional Anglican Communion.I am a former TAC Priest and I know Archbishop John well and am familiar with a number of the goings on in his Adelaide office and generally with the way he ran the TAC. I left the TAC because I did not want to become a Roman Catholic, but others Priests left the TAC because Archbishop John cancelled their license, because they dared to disagree with his policies. Deboarh I felt that your comments need an answer and I first of all repeat here what you said on your blog:


Seems Archbishop Hepworth is winning on the public relations front

Posted on October 19, 2012

The new TAC tribunal convicted Archbishop Hepworth in absentia, without anyone representing him, and have published a statement that does not even list the charges Hepworth faced.

Fr. Smuts has the statement. Seems the new TAC is not winning the battle for public opinion on this one, though perhaps some new TACkers will suddenly develop multiple email aliases to make it seem this tribunal acted in a just and merciful manner.

You can go over to Fr. Smuts’ site to read all about it.

I wish the new TAC would cut their losses and move on. What pound of flesh do they wish to extract from Archbishop Hepworth? He is pushing 70, with no pension save for what the Australian government offers seniors. Will they now go after his house so he is thrown out onto the street? If the new TAC thinks this is a way to evangelize and grow new members, I hope they rethink the optics of their campaign.

The archbishop remains in my prayers as do others who are experiencing the brunt of his debacle.


First of all the reason Archbishop Hepworth was judged in his absence was his unwillingness to go to India and stand trial. He was quoted to say in the Australian papers that the TAC’s tribunal was in la la land. You are talking about someone to represent him. Considering the background , I am not sure whether anyone would be keen to take this on. His former mate Chancellor Peter Slipper was offcourse in no position to help his friend. He is in deep trouble himself. Deborah you will need to bear in mind that Archbishop Hepworth tried to sack Bishop Robarts, who questioned financial irregularities ( that is probably to say it mildly) – this is how Abp John dealt with anyone , who dared to speak up. Fortunately Bishop Robarts was able to secure his position and it is to his credit that he took the issue on. There is also the fact that Archbishop Hepworth failed to leave an alternative for those in the ACCA/TAC who were not going to go Rome.

It could be said that the Tribunal could have been a bit clearer of what Archbishop Hepworth was going to be charged with. Those of us who know all the background do know. I think if he is found guilt , then it must be referred to the Australian Police.

It is good Deborah that you are praying for Archbishop Hepworth, he needs all our prayers , but what strikes me and many others , that there is no remission of guilt , he even pretended to be back in his former role and was quoted in the papers offering Peter Slipper a job as a Priest in the TAC and he is offcourse in no position to do that. As the current Vicar General of the ACCA/TAC rightly pointed out : ” no way”.

It is rediculous to suggest that the TAC uses the court proceedings as a new way of evangelizing , I dont think they Bishops got together in India for the fun of it. Look if someone commits financial fraud and spends money recklessly, then that person should bear the consequences. You are going to be too soppy about all this.

Also there is no new TAC, it is the same TAC minus some who have gone to Rome.Also the TAC is not running a popularity conequest, not many Churches can do that anyway, especially the Roman Catholic Diocese of Melbourne with the public enquiry in years of sexual abuse by its Priests. Also we have not forgotten the story about the goings on in the Boston RC Diocese , someone is now making a movie about this. But I am getting of track.

Archbishop John Hepworth knew exactly what he was planning when he took his Bishops to Portsmouth to sign compliance with the Roman Catholic Catechism. But.. it is a pity that a number of Bishops signed this document blindly and then pulled out. Union in Holy Communion is fine , but many of us know that Rome will never buy that, so it was Union by absorption. The sad part is that there was very little communication from the Adelaide office to Clergy and laypeople alike what was going on in the TAC. Little room for consultation. Years ago we used to call his office the ” black hole of Adelaide”. Why ? Plenty of stuff went in, but nothing came out.

It looks to me that the whole Church of God needs a complete overhaul when it comes to Bishops , Priests and Deacons with sound integrity.Mission by exemple and by encouragement. Perhaps we can focus on that , not only in the TAC, but also in the Roman Catholic Church.

And just before I go Deborah, dont worry about + John being on the street, there some waiting in the wings with an open cheque book.

Jesus have mercy on us, Mary pray for us,

Father Ed Bakker OPR

For what it’s worth, there is absolutely nothing for Archbishop John Hepworth to win here. He is, if anything, Deborah, a ‘public relations’ nightmare. In the process of having self-destructed, and that in spectacular fashion, he has made a total mockery of the Church and brought into disrepute the precious One she represents. Accountable, he will be held…

UPDATE:  Deborah Gyapong responds.



More Out of Australia (Via Canada)

Yesterday I wrote on the unhappy direction this blog was taking. You see, we have a certain responsibility to conduct ourselves as is becoming Christians (and not to mention Priestly conduct for those who are in Holy Orders). Blogs get a bad name because people can go around in anonymity saying what they will and bash whoever they want, without having to reveal themselves. This medium easily lends itself to slander, maliciousness and the ability to air ones dirty laundry for the whole world to see. That’s not transparency, its underhanded cowardice.

I also said yesterday that I wanted to steer the blog clear of such degenerative activities and those individuals perpetuating them. But at the same time I don’t want to sit by idly while this kind of behaviour goes by unchecked. I can but advocate Christian conduct (and yes,  I suppose, even enforce it if I must) on this blog, but I obviously cannot do that on others. What I can do is but exhort and ask for Christian conduct, representative of the One we profess to follow.

That said, there is a new post over at Foolishness to the world: SMM2 on the state of play in Australia.

Reading it, one will quickly realise that the ‘information’ supplied is written a (clearly) disgruntled serving Anglican Catholic Church of Australia (ACCA) Priest who is bemoaning ‘the state of play’ down there.

Now there is nothing wrong with being pro – Archbishop Hepworth (or any other person for that matter). We all get to freely choose our associations and company. But what you don’t get to do is bypass due judicial process. Charges have been levelled against the former Primate. He has every right to a defence and the presumption of innocence until otherwise proven. The TAC’s College of Bishops has been at pains to point this out, and furthermore allow the Archbishop to make due representation. I have followed the case from my own blog and the general media for some time now, and when things publically began to come loose, I vociferously appealed for Archbishop Hepworth to be reconciled with his brother Bishops. He never did, but instead elected to blunder on militantly in the secular Australian media. He is, by all accounts (and this is my own private and inconsequential opinion), still defiant. To what end? Is it not proper to sit down and talk? Again: be reconciled… ‘be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous’ (1 Peter 3:8).

So how does one, disillusioned, anonymous rant thrown out in the blogosphere help the situation? How?  How does one Priest get to be a ‘Silent Majority Member’? And how can you, as a Priest, call your own Church – one that has given you your vocation – ‘a spent force’? There is nothing constructive in what he (the anonymous Priest) writes, it’s just negativity and wild, unbased accusations. Mercifully, the blog owner has ‘snip[ed]’ of it.

Now I have had deep respect for Deborah Gyapong’s constructive, peaceable and sagacious journalistic blogging up until this point. But this (her  latest post) is highly disappointing and – if I may be frank – somewhat unbecoming. I have honestly come to expect more from her and never thought that her blogging or journalism would be reduced to tablotic levels. While she manages to recover and gathers herself towards the end of the post, the entire posting amounts to nothing more than an unhelpful speculative exercise, one that sows unsubstantiated paranoia and wild conjecture which will help no one,  least of all the hurting (and recovering) faithful souls Down Under.



Deborah Gyapong on The Anglo-Catholic’s Hiatus

Deborah Gyapong comments on her blog, Foolishness to the world, on the breaking events of this morning:

The Anglo-Catholic blog is officially on hiatus now, first with Fr. Christopher Phillips announcement that he was taking a break, then with moderator Christian Campbell’s announcement.

First of all, I want to thank Christian Campbell for creating and hosting the blog, which in its heyday was the go-to source for information, speculation and encouragement for everyone interested in Anglicanorum coetibus.  He did a great job in finding excellent voices from around the world from the Church of England, from the Traditional Anglican Communion, and from Anglican Use Catholics and former Anglicans who had already become Catholic.

It was wonderful to be part of it.  I had a lot of fun writing for it and I am grateful I was asked to be on the masthead.

I departed from the Anglo-Catholic twice for reasons of wanting to distance myself from editorial stands that seemed to be forming, first against Archbishop John Hepworth, and secondly against Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson.

When I was told that only the moderator would be posting on the contentious liturgy matter concerning Steenson and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite,  I decided that my silence might look like editorial agreement.

It’s kind of interesting to see some of the speculation showing up in the comments sections of various blogs, or over at Fr. Anthony Chadwick’s blog, hinting that all of us have been darkly told “from above,” perhaps even a phone call from Msgr. Steenson himself to shut up about internal Ordinariate matters.

Alas, I’m on my mother’s Mac and I haven’t figured out how to cut and paste so I cannot supply the links or chunks of text I would like.

Well, I’m sure that Msgr. Steenson is media savvy enough to know that a phone call to a journalist or a blogger telling them to be quiet would potentially have the opposite effect.   While he is soon to be my ordinary and I owe him loyalty and obedience in faith and morals by virtue of his position, I am not under his jurisdiction in terms of what I write about the Ordinariates.  In other words, I reserve my journalistic independence, both as a reporter and a blogger.  What I will guarantee him and anyone else I write about, is fairness and my best efforts at objectivity.   When I saw a tightening editorial stand at the Anglo-Catholic that did not reflect my views, I had to distance myself.

In fact, no archbishop or cardinal in the Catholic Church would tell me what to write though I have had some gentle suggestions from time to time that have been helpful but not bullying.  They could complain to my superiors, (which has happened but only once to my knowledge, but my editors in that instance defended me.)  I write primarily for papers that are owned by dioceses so bishops are the owners and publishers.  But while papers are expected to participate in the mission of the Church in terms of seeing through the lens of the Magisterium and highlighting news about Catholics in the public square or in their contributions to the common good, bishops do not generally interfere with the day to day operation of the papers.  And Catholic journalists have worked hard to carve out that independence because we know our credibility is shot when we are perceived as mere public relations shills.

As for Fr. Phillips reasons for pulling away, well, I think we should take his statement on the Anglo-Catholic at face value.   He wishes the Ordinariates well but he is not involved in them right now and has other matters occupying his attention, such as ensuring the continuing flourishing of his own parish and school.  I would find it extremely hard to believe that he got a phone call from his own archbishop or Msgr. Steenson ordering him to stop blogging on the Anglo-Catholic!

The Anglo-Catholic served its purpose and it did a great job and it would be nice to see more people remembering what was so great about it than to only think of the negative or to hint at some kind of dark dictatorial authority shutting it down…

The whole piece here.



Fr Christopher Phillips Leaves The Anglo-Catholic

And as I said when Deborah Gyapong announced her hiatus from the Anglo-Catholic blog: Good! The blog is but a shadow of what it once was and with them (Deborah Gyapong and Fr Phillips) gone, there will not be much going on that is worth your while.

But fear not, there are still plenty of ways to follow Fr Phillips:

I’ve been posting articles on The Anglo-Catholic for a little over two and a half years. Many of them I’ve written myself, and others I have reposted from different sources. I hope most of them have been helpful, and I trust they have been a positive support for the Ordinariates. That has always been my intention and purpose.

Right now there seems to be a bit of a lull in any Ordinariate news to write about, and I think it’s most likely because Ordinariate activity is more of an internal thing at this particular time. It’s probably best for those of us outside the Ordinariates to back off a bit and let things work out.

To that end, I’ll be taking an indefinite break from posting on this blog. Of course, all my previous articles remain, and I’ll continue my own blog, AtonementOnline, as well as my Facebook musings.

There’s plenty to keep me busy at Our Lady of the Atonement Church and The Atonement Academy – something in the neighborhood of 3,000 people to care for spiritually, plus there’s a major building expansion that’s very much needed to accommodate the increased number of students applying for admission. I won’t be twiddling my thumbs, I promise!

The Ordinariates are dear to me, and it’s been a privilege to be able to encourage so many to seek their true home in communion with Rome through this wonderful vision of Pope Benedict XVI.

If you have been over to the Anglo-Catholic blog, you would have noticed that the moderator, Mr Christian Clay Columba Campbell, has for some time now been pushing his own new personal blog (with every posting made). And so the notice of a general hiatus coming shortly after Fr Phillips’ would also not come as any great surprise:

From this moment there will be an indefinite pause here on The Anglo-Catholic.  The purpose of this blog from the start has been to encourage the development of Personal Ordinariates according to the will of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, as expressed in his Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus and the preservation and propagation of that Anglican Patrimony in harmony with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.  I believe that we have played an important role in the formation of the existing Personal Ordinariates, and I hope a positive one.  Unfortunately, the powers that be have made it known that our help is not wanted at this time.  In deference to them, this blog will comply and leave them to their business.  Please pray for the Ordinariates, especially that of the Chair of St. Peter.

I just think that there’s simply no one left to post anything worth reading over there. So, goodbye.

UPDATE I:  Fr Anthony Chadwick, who too was formerly a guest (contributor) at the Anglo-Catholic, shares his thoughts on the above news:

… I was first contacted by Christian Campbell on 29th November 2009 to ask me whether I would become a contributor on this promising new blog. I accepted, and contributed a number of articles – which are still there. Finally, I discovered that the blog had its own “orthodoxy” and “police”, and my increasing resistance to the pensée unique ended with a rupture. I set up my own blog called the English Catholic, and this met with my expulsion from the Anglo-Catholicin the last days of August 2010.

It now seems to be common knowledge that Christian Campbell went off on his own tangent after his reception into the Roman Catholic Church. I found out very early on that he was going to a chapel of the Society of St Pius X and had adopted the traditionalist ideology. Fair enough, but hardly representative of the Rome-ward movement of “groups of Anglicans”. This culminated with polemics concerning the use of the pre-conciliar Roman rite in the ordinariates, whether in Latin or the Cranmerese English form in the English Missal. This and other issues caused Deborah Gyapong to pull out, since this kind of discussion would tend to discredit other Anglicans on their way over, but less concerned about the exact rite to be used. I have been quite surprised by some things CCCC put on his Facebook page, but they are entirely irrelevant to me and concern only his personal life.

Now, Fr Christopher Phillips has pulled out too, and Campbell himself has announced an indefinite hiatus. We might suppose that Monsignor Steenson has told those who are now Roman Catholics that ordinariate business is private and not to be discussed on blogs. That seems to ring with my recent article on secrecy, but I am not myself concerned with any Ordinariate anywhere. I will not speculate, but with no discussion and no coverage of any kind, the internal business of a “private club” is irrelevant to nearly all of us, as would be the yearly accounts of some provincial golf club in England.

There is an old quip about gentlemen’s clubs in London – that you know a member has died when there is an ungodly stench coming from behind the newspaper!

Fr Phillips, as a priest under jurisdiction, would have seen the need not to provoke problems for himself or his ministry. Similarly, Deborah Gyapong is a respected journalist and maintains excellent relations with the Roman Catholic Church in Canada. It is a question of professional integrity and keeping squeaky clean.

Sic transit gloria mundi. The Anglo-Catholic met a less radical demise than my English Catholic blog which I deleted. Campbell has his personal blog on which he writes about the things that interest him. I do the same thing here, but on different subjects and from another perspective…

Read the whole post here.

UPDATE II:  Deborah Gyapong comments on the above here.