Sunday, September 11, 2011

"I do not seek retribution"

TAC Archbishop John Hepworth

Or so he says. Indeed, the news (here) recently broke in The Australian. But, anyone following the news of recent months can trace a story line in which Abp. Hepworth began to complain that the Roman Catholic Church was backtracking on the promises in Anglicanorum Coetibus, first in Canada and then beyond. And, what promises, exactly, was Rome backtracking on? Frankly, they refused to alter their new constitution and the Canon Law it was based on, and to which it referred consistently in its Article VI (the one most often misquoted and distorted). That means, of course, that they did not live by Hepworth's own spin on the meaning of Anglicanorum Coetibus, essentially his own promises to anyone in the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) who would listen, that if they would follow him to the Tiber they could have their cake and eat it too.

Hepworth's own fantasy island in the Tiber promised that every TAC priest could expect to be received in his orders, and that he himself would still be their Archbishop. He came right out with that line in Canada, essentially no different from his insistence to me, face to face in Timonium, Maryland three years ago, before the new constitution but well along in the TAC-Rome adventure. He objected to anyone writing that he would not be the one to lead his people into the Roman land of promise. He told me I had been wrong to say he could not minister as a man in holy orders if he went back to the Roman Catholic Church, even though at the time I thought I was praising his apparent humility and sincerity, even though not agreeing with his Roman bias. 

The problem is, Anglicanorum Coetibus carefully, consistently and unmistakably offered nothing more than what existing Canon Law and Pastoral Provisions already provided, except to make those provisions internationally available. Therefore, in no uncertain terms, it was clear on reasserting that no former Roman Catholic could expect to be ordained if he had left the Roman Catholic Church as an adult, no former Roman Catholic clergyman who left could resume ordained ministry after returning from an Anglican (or any Protestant) body, and that no man could practice ordained ministry if he had in his life impediments to the same. For Hepworth, twice married with a divorce and Anglican annulment, that meant he had no chance. He denied however, to me sitting across a small hotel lobby table, and later to larger audiences, that to return to Rome he would have to lay down his archiepiscopal office.

But, when the time for truth came, the Church of Rome stuck to its Canon Law. The TAC priests who were interested in becoming Roman Catholic priests under the terms of the new constitution, discovered that their education, unlike former Church of England clergy (where Oxford and Cambridge set the standard), did not qualify them for a fast track to "ordination" in the Roman Church. And, men with impediments were not going to get around the problem. That was when Hepworth fired back at the Church of Rome. He was not getting his way, meaning, they were not keeping his promises, but only their own.

But, he is a big man, not seeking retribution, ready to forgive, not grinding an ax. Or so he assures us.

Personal problems and sexual abuse
Now, we have Abp. Hepworth telling the world that he had been repeatedly abused sexually from the age of 15 by Australian Roman Catholic priests, into early manhood. This serial abuse even exceeded the shocking story he told me back in 2008. He has now used the word "rape," saying the abuse followed into his early adult years. These homosexual rapist priests must have been very large and powerful men, able to force themselves on the muscular Hepworth, who stands more than six feet tall and looks every bit a truck driver.

The article says:

"In an attitude of extraordinary forgiveness and atonement, his prime concern, set out in a letter to Archbishop Wilson in November 2008, was that his relationship with the Catholic Church be healed before he died.

"'I do not seek retribution,' he wrote but he felt 'deeply cheated of a priestly life that I have been exercising as it were by subterfuge, outside the communion of the Catholic Church'."

A long time reader of this blog, Millo Shaw, made this observation and asked a hypothetical question:

"So all his time as an Anglican priest and Archbishop of the TAC was merely a 'subterfuge, outside the communion of the Catholic Church.'  I wonder if he truly understands that he is in effect saying that his time as a cleric in the Anglican Church was nothing ever more than a lie and deception and that Anglicanism never was, is, or shall be, even in its TAC format, part of the Catholic Church?  I wonder how the people whom he has led feel about this?  What did he really think he was doing when he was carrying out the sacraments?"

The article in The Australian also says:


"In his March 2008 statement, he wrote: 'Perhaps I have been too driven in my search for redemption, for acceptance by a church that I did not know how to approach. I ran away from that church, but I have never lost my love for it.'
"Despite the fact that he has been married, divorced and remarried and has three children, he also wrote: 'Perhaps it is the only real love that I have ever known, and it is a love distorted and beyond my reach over all of my adult life.' "

It is obvious, at this point, that Abp. John Hepworth is a very troubled man who has  lived a sad and tragic life. We should pray for him, and hope for God's healing hand to be manifest. At the same time, others need to be liberated from the oppressive manner in which this troubled man has exercised leadership. 
Also, despite the lazy manner of "journalists" and "reporters" who have replaced journalism and reporting with copying and pasting, the TAC was, at its strongest point (before the Anglicanorum Coetibus circus) never more than about 50,000 strong - nowhere near the oft pasted 400,000 figure (or, 700,000 according to Orlando - what's 300,000 or so? Six of one, and all that). But, 50,000 is a lot of people; two or three count infinitely, as does one soul - more than a pearl of great price.

It is a travesty that so many people were subjected to one man's psychological problems. For years the entire TAC was being torn up one side and down the other, distracted from evangelism and prevented from recovering unity with the rest of the Continuing Anglican churches, focused almost entirely on Roman Catholicism and losing sight of anything remotely Anglican. They have suffered great loss, and a waste of years and resources. All this time the Roaming Romeward emphasis, in what people joined and contributed to as an Anglican church, was really about one man and his personal trauma. 

The old line about "unity" looked silly all along, since leaving one denomination for another is not unity. Now, we see it was always more of a subterfuge than we could say - openly.

63 comments:

Cherub said...

This article is a disgrace and should have been beneath you.

Anonymous said...

A superb and discerning article..pity you didnt work in the CDF.>

Brendan said...

I believe Fr Hart is right on the mark here. I likewise could not believe for one second that Rome was going to allow AB Hepworth to 'rule his flock' or even allow him to practise as a Priest. He 'conned' so many people. As to the sexual abuse claims I cannot fully comment, although I do know that Fr Stockdale was a homosexual priest who was found dead in a gay massage parlour. ( I lived in the community where he was a priest). The aspect I find very difficult to believe was the accusation about the RC Priest who blasphemed the Virgin Mary. Now I know many RC's and quite a few priests and if there is one thing that is sacred (even above Christ for some!) is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sorry but I do not believe AB Hepworth on this aspect of his story.

Brian said...

The revelation of these unfortunate incidents in +Hepworth's past go a long way toward explaining his own cognitive dissonance. But what excuse does the rest of Team Ordinariate have for remaining (however loosely) in the Anglican tradition until now? Either our priests aren't really priests or Rome is wrong; there is no middle ground.

Fr. Wells said...

It is all so very sad. Reminds me somehow of the disgrace and downfall of a bishop from South Florida, who fled under cover of night abandoning his wife, his parish and his diocese, in a painful episode about 20 years ago.

It would surely seem that Bp Hepworth has finally accepted the reality of his unsuitability for restoration to the RC priesthood. (Anglicanorum Coetibus and its ancillary documents did everything but call his name.) After this moment of truth, he is now saying "sour grapes."

Assuming for the moment that his stories are true, we are bound to ask why did he not tell his TAC followers exactly what sort of Church he was urging them to join.

And in what sense are these revelations
a "Vindication," as one of his most loyal blogsters would have it? This would seem to destroy any shred of credibility he might have with Rome (after all, he tries to inveigle his way back into their Church with Wife II in tow and then gives them a very black eye). And if any TAC people are undecided at this point, this would hardly bring them around. If this is a "Vindication," what would an "Exposure" look like?

Bp Hepworth truly needs our prayers. And so do the truly good people of ACA and TAC whom he has misled. And so do the Bishop of Rome and his staff who have truly extended themselves on behalf of this man.

Anonymous said...

One of the problems with the abused and bullied is that the behaviour to which they have been subjected is replicated by themselves: in effect the victim becomes the perpetrator, the bully.

So that here we see the victim, unable to achieve the goal for which he has been longing because of an abusive situation which is repellent to him, having escaped the abuse and taken a different path, but having never lost the desire for the original goal, is now prepared to use all his power and authority: with abuse, bullying, threats of legal action etc., in order to fulfil what must be now regarded as his selfish desire, notwithstanding any of the wishes or desires of those whom he abuses. As you say in your article, this man needs our prayers and even more, prayers that he might find healing and peace by acknowledging the harm that he, the victim, has himself perpetrated.

Colin Chattan said...

Perceptive comment, Brian. It's probably a modern symptom of that old affliction which I have heard categorized as "Anglican Fudge". Of course, as St. Paul noted, in this dispensation we "see through a glass darkly," but that does not justify suspending the rules of logic and coherence. Personally speaking I am sick to death of Anglican Fudge.

Colin Chattan said...

I would be remiss in failing to admit that I am probably so sick of Anglican Fudge precisely because I have indulged in it so frequently myself! Mea maxima culpa ...

Brian said...

I agree, Colin, and share your distaste for Anglican fudge. I had enough of it during my brief sojourn in the Episcopal Church to last several lifetimes, which is one big reason I am grateful for the Affirmation of St. Louis and the doctrinal clarity it provides.

Confessor said...

This is not gossip, Cherub. The article cited is an actual interview with Archbishop Hepworth. It is more revealing and unflattering, however, than he or the churches involved might wish. This article, plus the news reports on sexual abuse (posted at Bishop-accountability.org/abusetracker) and the statistics of the John Jay studies and the stories on the conservative Anglican blogs, gives us a realistic view of the poor psychological screening, standards for the priesthood, bishopric and beyond for both the Roman and Anglican church.

Donald said...

This is sad - and disturbing. As Confessor said, it shows the need for sound screening of candidates for ordination. On a positive note, I know that such screening procedures are in place and taken seriously in some jurisdictions (my experience is with the Anglican Catholic Church and AMiA).
As Fr. Wells said, Archbishop Hepworth and the people of ACA & TAC need our prayers.
Don+

Caedmon said...

Hepworth is indeed a "troubled man", but his situation pales in comparison to that of Rome, whose priesthood has become the haunt of ephibophiles and homosexuals. Even if a Roman Catholic could convince me of the truth of the papal claims etc., the very fact that Rome continues to do essentially nothing about its pervert-priests is enough to keep me away from the banks of the Tiber.

Anonymous said...

If you consider there are 475,000 Catholic priests worldwide. You most be proportionate, as to the number of paedophiles. Indeed 99 percent of these cases are not classic paedophoilia... sex with young children. , but homosexual cases with adolescent boys and older.

Shameful and damnable...but not much prevalent in our Church than any other.

At least the Catholic Church has never changed its doctrine to justify this shameful behviouer.

Look at the Episcopal Church as regards divorve , contraception and homosexulaity.

lexflyingfish said...

Hepworth does not seek retribution; just (as the _Australian_ article tells us) $75,000.

Also, I doubt Hepworth's claim that the encounters he had as an **adult** (up to age 27 apparently) were non-consensual. He himself is quoted in the article as saying, "...I had an awareness of the illegality of homosexuality, a sense of gross sinfulness, but also a sense of the glamour of the group with which I had been involved."

He does indeed need our prayers.

Anonymous said...

At a press conference this afternoon given by Australian Senator Nick Xenophon another (?) priest will be named in Parliament this evening. Nick said "I believe him (Hepworth)to be a good man".

Kilburnian

Little Black Sambo said...

"So that here we see the victim, unable to achieve the goal for which he has been longing ... is now prepared to use all his power and authority: with abuse, bullying, threats of legal action etc., in order to fulfil what must be now regarded as his selfish desire ..."
I can certainly see why somebody commenting in such terms should call himself "Anonymous".

Anonymous said...

I am an Australian Catholic priest, who had occasion to meet Archbishop Hepworth at a conference of catholic priests, to which clergy who were associating with the prospect of an Anglican Ordinariate in Australia were invited. The Archbishop made outrageous claims about promises made to him by"unnamed Vatican officials." Many priests who are consonant with Catholic Church belief and practice realised that these claims were spurious.
It has not helped that some were aware of +Hepworth's misuse of funds in both catholic and anglican parishes. He is a very troubled man and his "leadership" of moves to seek reconciliation with the Catholic Church is one very large obstacle for a significant number of clergy of the Anglican Communion who might consider this move.

G. S. Southerly said...

(Sorry, my first submission had extraneous text. Here is the correct quote.)

"Pope accused of crimes against humanity by victims of sex abuseVictims' complaint to the international criminal court accuses Pope Benedict and three others of failing to prevent abusers


Pope Benedict XVI, who has been cited in a complaint to the international criminal court. Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests have accused the pope, the Vatican secretary of state and two other high-ranking Holy See officials of crimes against humanity, in a formal complaint to the international criminal court (ICC).

The submission, lodged at The Hague on Tuesday, accuses the four men not only of failing to prevent or punish perpetrators of rape and sexual violence but also of engaging in the "systematic and widespread" practice of concealing sexual crimes around the world."

Not a moment too soon. Now perhaps the Roman Catholic Church will reform in word and deed.

Richard said...

One of my main problems with this article is this line:

"These homosexual rapist priests must have been very large and powerful men, able to force themselves on the muscular Hepworth, who stands more than six feet tall and looks every bit a truck driver."

That is perfectly possible. Women have raped men far bigger than them. Small men have raped women bigger than them. To suggest that the stature of the victim is relevant is, surely, naive.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Richard:

All I can say is that your comment is one of the most interesting observations I have come across in a very long time. I will be try to remember to be on guard, as large men everywhere ought to be, around small women who look predatory. One never knows.

I think it unwise to publish a comment from someone whose first name begins with "M" - since the story it contains requires investigation, and verification. You may email me privately with details.

Whitestone said...

No doubt Archbishop Hepworth would come under the profile of a male with a distant or abusive father, who is desperately seeking a father's love and affirmation...as would the alleged rapist or predator priests with whom he was engaged in sinful (and high health risk) activities.

These men do not qualify to be priests, cannot be true Godly spiritual fathers. Their pre-ordination psychological profiles would have revealed this, even as far back as the 1940-50s.

Every predator priest I have read about had 'red flags' on his pre-seminary evaluation as well as cautionary statements by their supervisors - including Katharine Jefferts-Shori's affirmative action hire, and the Catholic Church's infamous Bede Parry, whom Shori hired even though he had a whole page dedicated to his dastardly deeds and had an alarming psychological evaluation. Then there is the equally infamous Gordon MacRae whom William Donohue so staunchly defends and gives voice at the Catholic League website.

These men both exhibited behaviors and had evaluations that made it clear they needed to be ministered to and helped and should not be ministers, pastors, counselors, teachers or confessors. Hiring them was political correctness gone amuck.

The Church needs much more accountability and transparency and needs to ditch the idea that priesthood (or higher) makes a man some sort of super holy being forever. In reality, it just makes him more dangerous and deadly - eternally deadly.

In the interest of equal coverage - there is a story of an Anglican child abuser on the abuse newswire today. (www.Bishop-accountability.org/abusetracker)

Dr Lawry said...

Thank you Father for speaking truthfully and clearly on this matter, as you almost alone have done in re: TAC and the Archbishop. In addition to all that you have noted about his disordered leadership and life, one can only marvel that, if any of this is remotely true, he could with any conscience at all be leading "400,000" Christians into such a situation. We must pray for him, but fervently so for all who have followed him blindly.

Anonymous said...

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/abused-bishop-ready-to-forgive/story-e6frg6n6-1226133531732

Of course, most of the abuse scandals of the RC Church have centered around a single priest and and (generally) a few boys.

In "The Australian," as quoted by the alleged victim himself, we have learned of a young adult man who engaged in numerous "forced" homosexual acts with several partners, over an extended period.

As reported, if he truly was a "victim," was he unable to RUN? Why the coming out now?

Verumi

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hart,

I also have a problem with your comment:

"These homosexual rapist priests must have been very large and powerful men, able to force themselves on the muscular Hepworth, who stands more than six feet tall and looks every bit a truck driver."

You stupid arrogant bastard. This is 4 decades ago. Hepworth was young and lanky back then. Not a truckie. Victims can't defend themselves, (that's how they become victims in these situations, Einstein) and if you knew two knobs and goat dung about being a pastor you would know this already. Apparently having a parish of your family and a pet or two hasn't let you see what real pastoral work is like.

You are a disgrace. Politicizing this to make yourself look good.

I'll be contacting Haverland. Let's see if he believes in discipline, eh?

Signed, in disgust,

Former TAC cleric.

Glenda Lough said...

The lesson this wretched business teaches is clear: if embarking on a long journey (such as crossing the Tiber), do not pack anglican fudge.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Former TAC cleric:

Young? Yes indeed, up through age 27 is young, young enough to be in good shape. But, why do you doubt that the aggressors were large and powerful? Are you suggesting they were not?

Politicizing this to make yourself look good.

I wonder how exactly the mechanics of that theory are supposed to work.

The issue here is plain for all to see: John Hepworth is a psychologically disturbed man, and his personal problems are the cause of everything he was doing to the people of the TAC.

Anonymous said...

OK, I have to wonder; just what does “Former TAC Cleric” hope to accomplish with this ad-hominem attack? “Stupid, arrogant, bastard”? “Einstein”? Seriously? This is the best that he could come up with in “rebuttal” to Fr. Hart’s justifiable skepticism towards ++Hepworths’ curiously timed “revelations”? Obviously he has read little or nothing of this blog over the past few years or he would know better than to offer anything so lacking in the art of intelligent discourse.

I'll be contacting Haverland. Let's see if he believes in discipline, eh?

Or, put another way, “I’m telling your dad!”. First, I know from personal experience that His Grace is something of an authority on the subject of discipline, so this is just another attempt at an ad-hominem attack. Second, what makes you think that His Grace isn’t already aware of this entry? Finally, "Former TAC Cleric"s post is most disturbing in its display of immaturity. I would suggest that when “Former TAC Cleric” grows up, and learns how to use a dictionary, that he look up the definition of the word “troll”.

DJJ+

Brendan said...

Wow, former TAC cleric,

I trust that you no longer are in charge of a Parish with such a foul mouthed tongue like that. You may be interested to note that Hepworth made allegations when two of the Priests had already deceased, while in the current case in Adelaide the catholic authorities asked Hepworth repeatedly to make a report to the police which he always declined (perhaps, me thinks that his claims could be refuted and quite vigorously).
In today's (Thursday)15th September Australian, Monsignior Darcy who is being accused of rape by Hepworth is seeking to speak to the Parliamentary Senate to put his side of the story forward - "... it could be an avenue whereby I could be able to correct some of the tings he said which were inaccurate" (note - an independent Senator under parliamentary privilege named Mons. Darcy as the third priest who allegedly raped AB Hepworth)
I do not feel Hepworth would like this at all because some of his own past will be brought up. There are a number of alleged financial anomolies which hang heavily over Hepworth's head both while a RC and Anglican Priest. ( I won't comment on his TAC history!)
I perhaps could believe that homosexual activity may have taken place at some of these seminaries, or juniorettes, but to say that this went on into his adult years without his approval or ascent is somewhat mind boggling.
Sadly I feel the man is very disturbed and sees his return to Rome (and tenure as TAC AB) rapidly crumbling, like the walls of Jericho.
Finally I think Fr Hart was correct in letting go the accusations of being ignorant or condoning sexually predatory behaviour in the church that you leveled at him, former TAC cleric. Those who know him better would not resort to such nonsense.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

This is very sad. We should pray for the TAC.

DH+

Anonymous said...

This morning (Wednesday) Senator Xenophon spoke on radio saying that he would never have named the RC priest had he known that the man was on a month's holiday. What difference this makes is somewhat perplexing. Has he found that there is more to the matter than he first thought, and is now looking for a way to retreat with dignity?
Kilburnian.

Anonymous said...

Quite obviously Archbishop Hepworth has a lot on his mind. I think it would be sensible for the TAC College of Bishops to meet as soon as possible to elect a new Primate. This action would relieve ++Hepworth of a heavy task,and allow him to continue his journey back to the Roman Catholic Church. For those within the TAC who also wish to become Roman Catholics, I suggest they withdraw fromthe TAC so that Church may continue as truly Anglican. The quicker the TAC is free from this lot, the better for all concerned.

Caedmon said...

Former TAC Cleric, do you own a Bible?

Canterbury Anglican said...

"The problem is, Anglicanorum Coetibus carefully, consistently and unmistakably offered nothing more than what existing Canon Law and Pastoral Provisions already provided, except to make those provisions internationally available. Therefore, in no uncertain terms, it was clear on reasserting that no former Roman Catholic could expect to be ordained if he had left the Roman Catholic Church as an adult, no former Roman Catholic clergyman who left could resume ordained ministry after returning from an Anglican (or any Protestant) body, and that no man could practice ordained ministry if he had in his life impediments to the same."
http://www.sevenoakspeople.co.uk/Congregation-unhappy-convert-s-arrival/story-12906703-detail/story.html

Michael said...

@Brendan, it was Mons. "Dempsey", not "Darcy".

Arthur W. said...

Sounds like the TAC as a whole has significant health problems.

For the TAC to have made Hepworth their Archbishop and have the impulse to go to Rome (where homosex/gay activity and orientation amongst the clergy abounds) means there must be a considerable strain of the same (fatherlessness and identity disorientation) pathology within the clergy as well as membership that is equal to that of the Church of England and the US Episcopal Church.

Identity disorientation is caused by trauma at a deep level such as fatherlessness (distant, rejecting, abandoning, angry, abusive fathers, mothers who are using boy for emotional comfort), rejection by peers and/or molestation coupled with rebellion against authority and Word of God.

This progression from pain to rebellion is the road to perdition outlined in Romans chapter 1. The reverse route back to God is outlined in later chapters, especially chapter 12, in I Corinthians 6:9-20 and throughout Scripture

Regarding Abp Hepworth's financial doings - Financial misdeeds are common among the 'gay oriented' clergy. The money is taken from parish funds and used to pay (usually teens) for sexual services, entertainment (including porn and gambling) and other luxuries (Broadway tickets, cruises, vacation homes, sex enhancement drugs) to which these priests feel entitled.
What is done in darkness will eventually come to light.

Therefore both the TAC Primate and the Church need prayer.

Also, the Pope and the entire Roman Catholic Church, which now finds itself reaping the whirlwind, needs our prayers. Now, it is too late for Rome to clean house of homosexual priests; they cannot remove the sexual miscreants entirely without bringing an onslaught of lawsuits in behalf of the 'gay' priests that would equal the number of those brought by abuse victims. Moreover, the gay priest disputes would be doubly vicious due to the innate rage of homosexual rebels, who presently have twice the rights and half the culpability of normal citizens.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said, "I think it would be sensible for the TAC College of Bishops to meet as soon as possible to elect a new Primate."

If my information is reliable this may be happening already, in an indirect way, under the guise of the new TAC (where that acronym now stands for Traditional Anglican Church as distinct from the old "Traditional Anglican Communion".
The basic problem with the ‘old’ TAC was that it wasn’t glamourous enough for the delicate tastes of some of its members. This left them open to anything they blindly perceived as ‘a better offer’ regardless of theology.
Kilburnian.

Anonymous said...

Mr Hart,

I'm surprised you published my comments, but am not surprised that you are hardened against the point.

The point of this is simple: you said that Hepworth was "a psychologically disturbed man" and mentioned "his personal problems". This low politics is pretty common for you.

Try thos for an exercise- extract "Abp. Hepworth" and insert any other name, and ask yourself if a pastor should publicly attack such a person.

I say no. You attack Hepworth publicly and use his issues for articles because you are against him personally, and in particular, his understandings of Anglicanism and his vision for its future.

You politicize his anguish. Over and over. It reads to me that you do this to make yourself and your church look good. It's "last man standing" doctrine. "If I can knock the TAC, the HCC-AR or whatever other sect, that makes me right."

Sure, your cheer squad, also composed of many former TAC members will hurrah this kind of stuff because it fills the emotional need to validate one's beliefs and clique.

But if this person were any one else, would you make public such pain for political gain? I hope not, but I am not confident about it.


Former TAC Cleric

Anonymous said...

DJJ+

You said:

"OK, I have to wonder; just what does “Former TAC Cleric” hope to accomplish with this ad-hominem attack?"

Simple. I want this blogger to clean up his act. Too often the words used are offensive, derisive and cheap. This blog is a witness to the world about Continuing Anglicanism. The spiritual nature of that movement in on display. This kind of politics let's the side down.

Think about this DJJ+, what is the worst thing about the Continuing movement? The politics. The cheap shots. The bishops at war constantly. The backstabbing.

Everyone with a genuine concern for the movement wants this to end- including your own Primate (I assume you are ACC), whom I had lunch with only recently, and is a fair man I believe.

Why then, does Hart seem to linger on this Hepworth obsession and kick the man when he is down? Does he not realize how poor this constant war looks? The Apostle has said:

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

(yes Caedmon, I do have a Bible)

People have more than once commented to me that the "Continuum" blog is an Anglican hate site. While this is less and less the case recently you must concede that reputations are built upon actions and the way they are perceived.

You might say "but Fr. Hart is telling the truth!" I say yes, he might be, but it is not acting in prudence or with charitable intent, as is obvious.

I can tell you with assurance that there are people who read and post here who have been damaged to a far greater extent by Continuing Bishops and priests than Hart has and yet who do not choose to rejoice in their mud or agony or sling mud at them.

I would have preferred to simply email Hart, but this is not possible.

As for your reactionary pre-teen ad-hominem towards me, I can handle it. I've been insulted by wiser and I didn't care then either. I accept that you feel provoked, but getting attention to the matter from contributors like you was my objective.

Former TAC Cleric

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Former TAC Cleric is, it appears, also psychologically disturbed (if he really is a former TAC cleric).

This low politics is pretty common for you.

Politics? I am not running for any public office.

Try thos for an exercise- extract "Abp. Hepworth" and insert any other name, and ask yourself if a pastor should publicly attack such a person...But if this person were any one else, would you make public such pain for political gain?

Abp. Hepworth's position makes him a public figure, and his disastrous leadership coupled with his outrageous Ultramontanist propaganda campaign for the last several years, justify and demand public analysis. I wish he would just go away into a private life so that I could ignore him.

I would have preferred to simply email Hart, but this is not possible.

Why? Have you no email account? Why can't you email me? Everyone else can.

...because you are against [Hepworth] personally...

Why would I care about him "personally" one way or the other (except to pray for his salvation as a human being who is apparently lost)? You are making absolutely no sense whatsoever.

You politicize his anguish. Over and over.

Well, he certainly does. I did not stir up this recent bit of unsavory news.

You might say "but Fr. Hart is telling the truth!" I say yes, he might be, but it is not acting in prudence or with charitable intent, as is obvious.

So, you can see into the hearts of others.

I've been insulted by wiser [sic] and I didn't care then either.

I dare say you have. Since you have so bravely left your name- Oh! wait a minute; no, you haven't. Well then never mind.

Anonymous said...

Mr Hart,

You said

"Former TAC Cleric is, it appears, also psychologically disturbed (if he really is a former TAC cleric)."

Ahh...nice. I see the schtick. Everyone else is disturbed if they rebuke your callousness, but you are psychologically sound when you snipe at abuse victims.

a) I don't have your email address. I don't see it on this site. That's why I didn't email you. Glad I didn't now. I have no idea how you honourably deal with confidential material.

b) You said you weren't running for office, but then said of Hepworth-

"Abp. Hepworth's position makes him a public figure...justify and demand public analysis."

Hence, by your reasoning, you too are open game. Enjoy.

Others here have called for prayers for him. I think this is the proper Christian response.

c) Can you prove to us all that your labeling of others as "psychologically disturbed" and the litany of other insults over the years is done in a charitable spirit, or am I actually proven right about your motives? How come other bloggers on the Continuum don't stoop to this in the name of their opinions?

d) I would never leave my name on this site, and I've been posting here for a while. Many others won't leave their names either, as you should have noticed. It's a matter of trust. I don't trust you with my information. How does it make you feel to be a priest people don't trust?

Word of advice for you: Christianity is not a blood sport. Quit trying to beat everyone up.

Former TAC Cleric

Fr. Robert Hart said...

To call someone "psychologically disturbed" is not an insult. Generally it is a description of a condition that is entirely obvious to everyone, and concerning which we may have compassion.

Anonymous said...

Part I

I see that Fr. Hart has beat me to some of this, but I will carry on nonetheless…

Well, Former TAC Cleric (I think we need a good acronym here), I applaud you for at least attempting to raise your game in these latest posts. Had these been your initial posts, I might not have felt moved to reply (and the record will bear out that do not post here often). But now that we have gotten past that, please bear with me as I offer some thoughts on your latest;

Try thos for an exercise- extract "Abp. Hepworth" and insert any other name, and ask yourself if a pastor should publicly attack such a person.

Well, of course he wouldn’t. But ++Hepworth is not just “any other name”. He is a public figure (made so by his own willful actions), who also proposes to be the leader of a large number of “Anglicans” who wish to join the Roman Church, and who has likewise made a number of public promises to his flock regarding this proposed “union”. And now that it has become increasingly clear that those promises were, and are, false, the Archbishop chooses this point in time to “reveal” the abuse to which he was allegedly subjected? Any public figure who made similar accusations, given comparable circumstances, would likewise invite such skepticism as Fr. Hart has voiced here.

I want this blogger to clean up his act. Too often the words used are offensive, derisive and cheap. This blog is a witness to the world about Continuing Anglicanism. The spiritual nature of that movement in on display. This kind of politics let's the side down.

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve heard people say that Fr. Hart is “anti-Roman”, or “anti-Catholic”. In every case, when I discuss with them Fr. Hart’s words in a calm, rational setting, they admit that he is actually neither.

And yes, this blog is a witness about Continuing Anglicanism. And what a wonderful witness it is that can allow such rational, intelligent discussion about the tenants of the Catholic Faith, always agreeing on the essentials while debating the “non-essentials”. And how wonderful is it that we have such a forum to defend traditional Anglicanism, rather than leave our flocks to think that their only options for survival are Rome, Geneva, or Constantinople.

Think about this DJJ+, what is the worst thing about the Continuing movement? The politics. The cheap shots. The bishops at war constantly. The backstabbing.

Agreed; political fighting has been the greatest inhibitor to the growth of the Continuing movement. And yet, in spite of this, we do grow. In spite of the political differences, the ACC and the APCK are in communion with one another. In spite of the ecclesiastical differences, the UECNA and the ACC are likewise in communion with one another. The “worst thing”, will always be the “worst thing”, but we are coming together nonetheless.

Everyone with a genuine concern for the movement wants this to end- including your own Primate (I assume you are ACC), whom I had lunch with only recently, and is a fair man I believe.

You’re right on two counts; I am ACC, and I also believe that Archbishop Haverland is a fair man. And I also know (having likewise had a number of lunches and suppers with His Grace) his thoughts on the Continuing Movement, as well as his opinion of this blog and its contents. Of course he wants the political fighting to end! What charitable person wouldn’t desire such a thing? But that is not what Fr. Hart is talking about in this post.

DJJ+

Anonymous said...

Part II

Why then, does Hart seem to linger on this Hepworth obsession and kick the man when he is down? Does he not realize how poor this constant war looks?

This “war” is of your own making. Fr. Hart is merely responding to a news story about a public figure, one who claims to understand such terms as “Anglicanism” and “Anglican Patrimony”, and who supposes to lead others into the same institution that allowed the abuse he allegedly suffered. The fact is that Fr. Hart has never once offered a criticism in advance of anything that ++Hepworth has said or done. Do you not see the possibility (probability) that Fr. Hart would never have raised this issue had ++Hepworth not first created the environment? And before you answer, remember that ++Hepworth himself has a degree in Political Science. My skeptical side believes he knew the political ramifications of his “announcement” before he made it. In other words, before you pass judgment on the commentator, be sure you understand (all) the motivations of the subject who inspired the comments in the first place.

I can tell you with assurance that there are people who read and post here who have been damaged to a far greater extent by Continuing Bishops and priests than Hart has and yet who do not choose to rejoice in their mud or agony or sling mud at them.

You do not need to assure me because I am one of them. Ever have a child molester/priest in your parish? Please do not condescend in your ignorance. And by the way, Fr. Hart has never rejoiced in the agony of others. If anything, he has grieved and on occasion become angry (perhaps the better term is “righteously indignant”), at those who have caused such pain.

As for your reactionary pre-teen ad-hominem towards me, I can handle it. I've been insulted by wiser and I didn't care then either. I accept that you feel provoked, but getting attention to the matter from contributors like you was my objective.

OK, I had that coming. And rather than issue another adolescent ad-hominen to match yours, let me just say that there are better ways to get my attention than to profanely attack Fr. Hart, or any of the other contributors to this blog. Thank you again for your more cogently considered follow-up to your initial posts.

DJJ+

Shaughn said...

Calling someone psychologically disturbed is not an insult. Doing so is, however, a Bulverism and does little to prove or disprove any argument Hepworth might make or any argument someone here might have about Hepworth.

The facts on the ground are:
1) He was in the RCC.
2) He's now a bishop in another body.
3) He's been divorced and remarried.

He therefore will not be received or ordained or whatever. Period.

And 5) He's not, at the end of the day, bringing many folks with him.

Do let's the rest of us focus on unity, clarity of doctrine, charity of pious opinion, and (most importantly) worship & love of God.

Onward!

Canterbury Anglican said...

Forgive me trying to make my point again (!) but amongst those from the CofE who have been (re)ordained as RC Priests in the Ordinariate are several who were previously adult RCs before becoming Anglican )and then Anglican Priests). RC Canon Law, it seems, is a great more flexible than you might think. CA

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Really? Name these men for us if that is so.

Canterbury Anglican said...

Follow the link on my previous comment (see above). CA

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

There's been mild buzz in the news about a Fr. Ivan Aquilina who was RC, left, married, and was ordained in the RCC ab initio.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Canon Law & the text of Ang. Coetibus rule out the possibility that a man could do that if he had left the RCC after the age of 18.

Shaughn said...

...Bully for canon law, I guess? He still did it, and did it in his twenties. In fact, there was an article recently where folks were fussing about how unfair it was that he left to get married. I'll have to track it down.

Little Black Sambo said...

How can you tell for certain that somebody has left the RC Church? Would he need to have signed something, or be formally admitted into some other church?
(Proving you are not a member of the Church of England is more difficult.)

Anonymous said...

According to the article linked by Canterbury Anglican, certain RC canons and texts concerning conversion and ordination can be custom circumvented when deemed necessary or desired by those making decisions...just as with annulments.

As with one British priest (who spoke out too strongly against a certain long tolerated and protected psychological condition and inclination amongst RC clergy) conversion, ordination and assimilation processes for individual priests can also mysteriously and inexplicably be stopped cold.

Anonymous said...

It is a well known fact that the RCC has a more flexible style of applying Canon Law. Fr Casey (familiarly known as Shaughn+) may well be correct. But joining the RCC in the hope of enjoying that flexibility is both risky and presumptuous.
LKW

Catholic Left-winger said...

Fr. Ivan Aquilina was raised in Malta of a Catholic father and Anglican mother. Whilst baptised a Roman Catholic, he attended the Anglican Church with his mother and identified himself as an Anglican.

Monsignor John Broadhurst (former C of E Bishop of Fulham and FIF President), was baptised as a Roman Catholic and may even have had his First Holy Communion as a child, but from early teen years identified as an Anglican.

In these cases, Ordination (sub-conditione or otherwise) as a Roman Catholic priest is allowed.

Anonymous said...

DJJ+,

You have made good points and seem to have a grasp of the matter. I like that.

I do wonder as to why the political scientist of Adelaide would make such an announcement. Word on the streets of the Continuing Churches in Oz is that this has killed the TAC Down Under in one day. Very sad.

Former TAC Cleric (let's just make it FTACC)

Anonymous said...

Hmm,
Archbishop Hepworth blames the church and the priests.
The Roman Catholic bishops blamed the sexual revolution of the 60-70s for the sexual abuse crisis.
An Irish priest is blaming the mothers of Ireland for the priests' sexual abuse of their children.
Fr. Cutie' blames the church for his, Corapi's, Entenuer's and other priests' actions.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin says he's met only abuser priests so far who truly felt responsible for his actions. A huge majority can't truly admit their sin, and may even blame the victim.
Blame is the name of the game.

Anonymous said...

Correction - Catholic Archbishop of Ireland Martin said of all the abuser priests he has interviewed, only two were truly repentant, regretted the harm of their actions and felt empathy for their victims.

Confessor said...

In today's news - despite his claims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, Archbishop Hepworth hopes he and the TAC will be received into its fold:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/archbishop-hopeful-of-papal-nod/story-e6frg6nf-1226144924547

Anonymous said...

Archbishop Hepworth's church is asking him to resign, saying it is impossible for him to continue as their leader. http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=14917

There is another article that puts the evidence of Hepworth's charges to the test: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/media-quick-to-judge-hepworth-allegations/story-e6frfifx-1226145021395

May he run to the seat of grace and truth where mercy abounds...before it is too late.

John A. Hollister said...

One of the Anonymice wrote: "[Roman] Catholic Archbishop of Ireland Martin said of all the abuser priests he has interviewed, only two were truly repentant, regretted the harm of their actions and felt empathy for their victims."

Although I'm a complete layman in the field of mental health, for decades -- since I first encountered these issues as a young police officer -- I have read one consistent evaluation, namely, that child molesters, pedophiles, and the like are essentially incurable and have a recidivism rate that is virtually 100%. (This is was the critical fact that was overlooked by the R.C. hierarchs who sent erring clergy for a "treatment" that does not exist.)

If that incurability be true, then that just gives tragic emphasis to the lack of awareness of sin that Abp. Martin noted. It may be a "chicken and egg" conundrum: does the lack of contition cause the nearly universal continuing offenses, or does the predisposition to offend again block those offenders from becoming contrite?

In the end, of course, the answer to that matters less than the stark fact that the two phenomena are closely associated together.

John A. Hollister+

St. Nikao said...

My prayer continues that Apb. Hepworth will be assisted by mature godly people to come out of denial to the healing truth and be able to find and accept reality.

He was and is a fatherless male. All he has done, was lured and tempted to do, was an effort to find a wise father figure. Tragically, he looked to the wrong people.

That is the travesty of the Roman Catholic Church. Celibate men who did not know good fathers are broken and cannot be healthy fathers to their flock. One must be a husband and father or have had good models to learn those skills.

The Roman Church and the Church of England (and now the Episcopal and Canadian churches) have perpetuated, tolerated and covered up for a culture fatherless priests who have weakened male identities and thus, who have misdirected, uncontrollable lusts toward males, teens and little boys.

I pray the collective bodies and the individuals involved in this debacle and deception will be cut free from the pride and evil that holds them captive.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Catholic Left Winger:

I offer you a second chance to make the same points, but without ad hominem attack on another reader for his comment. "Robust if polite" is the rule here. You can say what you have to say about the issue that concerns you, as strongly as you want.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic Left Wing (American Catholic Council) have taken an unbiblical stance, that essentially, homo-bi-sexual acts are OK on the day after the person reaches the age of consent in the state where the act occurred - the day before his or her (14th to 18th) birthday, it's sinful, wrong, evil. The day after, it's OK.

The Bible takes a different view and commands God's people to judge (provide protection, nurture, love, encouragement, counsel, mentor, guide) the fatherless who are often inclined toward same-sex sexual attraction and identity disorientation.

To be fathers and mothers to those whose parents are deficient and disordered is a consistent primary command to the people of God throughout Scripture. Instead, the church, due to spiritual blindness and sin, has erroneously shirked this responsibility and ignorantly embraced and approved and perpetuated these disordered desires and false identities produced by poor parenting and trauma of molestation and peer persecution.

The government under Obama, another fatherless male, has irresponsibly upped the ante, making the unhealthy (high risk, injury and disease producing), unholy (Biblically condemned), unhappy (emotionally damaging) pansexuality a politically protected behavior/condition.

Scripture, medicine, science and statistics stand united that pansexuality produces negative outcomes. Condoms and affirmation do not change this. In the locales where pansexuality is accepted/approved, the statistics show an increase of harmful (psychological, physical and relational) outcomes rather than an improvement.

Sins against God's design and law are always produce brokenness and harm.

The greatest shame of the sexual abuse scandals is that the organizations that are supposed to defend and advocate for the victims have embraced the disoriented identities and behaviors that the abuse and the precondition fatherlessness produced. Most of the victims were chosen because they had family issues to begin with that made them emotionally vulnerable to seduction by these so-called priests (teachers, choir leaders, coaches, etc.).

Obama, Kevin Jennings, the Safe School Czar appointed by Obama, John Spong, Katherine Shori and her bishops, and school counselors who are promoting pansexuality and abortion are making themselves vulnerable for future decades of class action lawsuits like we are seeing in the Roman Catholic Church today.

This will be their just desserts for promoting behaviors that produce disease, degradation and death.