First of all, this is from the VOL interview:
VOL: When the former Bishop of London went to Rome, he was "conditionally re-ordained" a priest rather than having to undergo re-ordination. Do you see that as a possibility for the TAC's clergy?
HEPWORTH: The way in which pastoral provision currently works allows Anglican clergymen to tender evidence of the validity of Anglican ordination. In fact, the re-ordination is a response to the circumstances within Anglicanism which vary for good and ill in the last century as Cardinal Kasper recently said, and re-ordination is a necessary assurance to the good consciences of those with whom unity is sought.
VOL: Some fear, if conditional re-ordination is not allowed, that sacramental rites performed by TAC clergy prior to their re-ordination would be considered invalid. Do you see the difference between "conditional" and unconditional re-ordination as important?
HEPWORTH: No. It is important to individual Anglo-Catholics who in practice have responded to Apostolicae Curae by seeking to involve other than Anglicans in their ordinations, not necessarily as a criticism of their own orders but as an act of pastoral generosity towards the wider catholic church.
Add to that what he told me in Timonium, Maryland on July 31st:
Since the issue of Anglican Orders has been raised by reader's comments, the Archbishop had this to say for readers of the Continuum: "We would not be ordaining or saying Mass if we believed our Orders were invalid. That would be sacrilege. There must be room for our conscience."
This does indeed ring true. When he gave me the above quotation, I mentioned to him that Brian Taylor had documented1 the Anglican reason for seeking the Infusion of Old Catholic orders in 1932 via co-consecration, initially in the consecration of Rev. Graham Brown to the episcopate with the Old Catholic Bishop of Haarlem assisting. The purpose was to help make Anglican orders more acceptable to Rome in the event of a possible Reunion, as Taylor documented by quoting correspondence between leaders of the Church of England, including then Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Lang. As I was mentioning this, Archbishop Hepworth nodded his head in obvious recognition of Taylor's work. Hence the words of Archbishop Hepworth: "...an act of pastoral generosity towards the wider catholic church."
This demonstrates, however, an ongoing factor that appears to be one weakness in the whole strategy. These bold steps are being discussed on one end as if only one party needs to be sold this whole idea, namely Rome. I can well appreciate Archbishop Hepworth's generous offer to make the orders of TAC acceptable to the larger Catholic Church, while at the same time insisting that this is not, in any way whatsoever, to be taken as a statement of doubt concerning Anglican Orders. He holds firmly, judging from what he said to me, to the Anglican position as stated in Saepius Officio, and any willingness to submit, in future, to conditional ordinations and consecrations would be simply a gracious act for wider catholic unity. But, now he must sell that to the clergy of the TAC and to the lay people as well. He has already let the cat out of the bag on VOL.
The comparison to the Old Catholic Infusion, though I had raised it myself, is not an exact parallel. Co-consecration did not involve any sort of "re-ordination" or "re-consecration," conditional or otherwise. So, this may be a tough sell in some places.
I trust that Archbishop Hepworth appreciates the helpful clarification I have given here to the answer he gave on VOL, in order to avoid widespread panic; since what appears on VOL may have led some members of the TAC to worry about what he thinks of Anglican Orders (if e-mails to me from TAC people today and yesterday are any indication of facts on the ground) --Speaking of generousity.
1. In his 1995 paper, published in Great Britain, Accipe Spiritum Sanctum.