Saturday, November 26, 2011

TAC ARCHBISHOP REPORTED ABOUT TO ANNOUNCE HIS RECEPTION AS A ROMAN CATHOLIC LAYMAN

The Rev. Canon John Hollister has sent the following:


Thanks to the sharp eyes of Fr. Larry Wells, who spotted on Fr. Anthony Chadwick’s blog, “The English Catholic”, an article which contained the link to the following report from “The Australian”:

Archbishop John Hepworth to return to Catholic fold as Indian, not chief

“by:  Verity Edwards
“From:  The Australian
“November 25, 2011 9:33PM

“ARCHBISHOP John Hepworth will be forced to relinquish his role as the primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion if he is to reconcile with the Catholic Church, after being informed he will only be accepted as a layperson.

“Archbishop Hepworth has been notified by the Catholic Church that his bid to reunify the TAC with Rome has been successful,* but his own case is conditional.”

Downloaded 11/25/2011 from The Australian.

The accompanying information in Fr. Chadwick’s article adds further details, including that Abp. Hepworth was given this notice in an official letter from the Australian [Roman Catholic] Bishops’ Conference that was delivered to him by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne.  Apparently the reason given for this determination is Article 6, §2 of the “Complementary Norms” that are attached to Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, under which the new Anglican Ordinariates are to be organized.  This Section states that former Roman Catholic clergy who left that communion to become Anglicans will not be received back into the Roman Church as functioning clergy but will only be permitted to exercise the lay state.

On a number of occasions since Abp. Hepworth announced that the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) would be engaging in a “corporate merger” with the Roman Catholic Communion (RCC), he stated that if it became necessary for the success of such a merger, he was prepared to resign his position as a bishop.  Based upon these assurances, it is understood that those TAC members who still support the TAC’s entry into an RCC Ordinariate expect Abp. Hepworth to continue leading them “across the Tibur” by shortly announcing his reception back into the RCC as a layman.
____________
* A strange use of the word "successful," since it has only attracted an underwhelming minority. - Fr. Hart

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe the newspaper article quotes Hepworth to the effect that he has not yet decided whether he will return to the Roman Catholic Church on these terms, or remain where he is.

Anonymous said...

The entire article:

Archbishop John Hepworth to return to Catholic fold as Indian, not chief
• by: Verity Edwards
• From:The Australian
• November 25, 20119:33PM
ARCHBISHOP John Hepworth will be forced to relinquish his role as the primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion if he is to reconcile with the Catholic Church, after being informed he will only be accepted as a layperson.
Archbishop Hepworth has been notified by the Catholic Church that his bid to reunify the TAC with Rome has been successful, but his own case is conditional.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference general secretary Brian Lucas confirmed that under the Anglicanorum coetibus -- guidelines created by the Vatican two years ago -- Anglicans and members of the TAC would be welcomed.
"Each Anglican bishop or each group of Anglicans who apply are treated individually, so we anticipate there will be some groups within the TAC that for their reasons do not want to join the Catholic Church," Father Lucas said.
He said the document confirmed any Catholic priest or bishop who became an Anglican and then wanted to return to Catholicism would only be able to do so as laity.
Archbishop Hepworth was ordained a Catholic priest in the 1960s but left and became an Anglican in 1974.
He has campaigned for the TAC to reunite with Rome for the past two years and in September claimed he had been sexually abused by three Catholic priests in the 1960s.
Senator Nick Xenophon then named Monsignor Ian Dempsey as his alleged abuser under parliamentary privilege. Monsignor Dempsey has denied the allegations.
Archbishop Hepworth has not yet decided whether he will accept the Catholic Church's offer.
"Archbishop Denis Hart (of Melbourne) and I agreed that I would have several weeks to consider my position," he said.
"I regret that the Australian Bishops Conference has seen fit to publish the document without any consultation with me."
Father Lucas said the sexual abuse allegations had nothing to do with the church ruling.
"I can be confident that the public statements (Mr Hepworth) made about that are not at all relevant to this decision," he said. "It would be the policy of the church . . . never to publicise reasons connected with the personal circumstances of somebody in Archbishop Hepworth's position as a former Catholic priest seeking to find a place within the church."

Anonymous said...

Murder on the Ordinariate Express by Saint Agatha Christie.

I believe a number of Canadians who were former RCs - then Anglicans - then hopped on the Ordinariate Express were just told they will never get seats in the Ordained section and needed to go sit in Coach. Coach is all you'll ever get. According to Rome the Anglican train will always be The Flying Kipper which has not a valid dinning car.

...shocker. Is it uncharitable to say, or yell while waving ones hands like a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man, "I TOLD YOU SO!"

-Aidan.

Anonymous said...

Would that Archbishop has the good grace to step down as Primate of the TAC.

Enough damage had been done by him. Knowingly, willingly and premeditated.

Why should he have the luxury of "reflecting for several weeks", when thousands of people are anxiously and fearfully waiting to hear how and where they will be allowed to worship next?.

John A. Hollister said...

Anonymous -- the first Anonymous, that is -- wrote: "I believe the newspaper article quotes Hepworth to the effect that he has not yet decided whether he will return to the Roman Catholic Church on these terms, or remain where he is."

I believe the only charitable position is to assume that Abp. Hepworth meant what he said when he repeatedly assured his followers that he would resign his episcopacy if that was what was needed for him to lead them into the Roman embrace.

As "The Australian's" article noted, the TAC's application to Rome has, in fact, been accepted. So, based upon Abp. Hepworth's own promises to his flock, one confidently awaits his announcement of his reconciliation to Rome and his assumption there of the lay state.

And while I agree completely with the substance of Aidan's remarks, I am moved to inquire, just what sort of din does one make, or endure, in a dinning car?

John A. Hollister+

RC Cola said...

I knew I should have put money on this outcome! Ah, hindsight.

Confessor said...

That Hepworth remains as head of the TAC, well, that he was ever elected in the first place, speaks volumes of the discernment of their bishops and priests.

William Tighe said...

"That Hepworth remains as head of the TAC, well, that he was ever elected in the first place, speaks volumes of the discernment of their bishops and priests."

That, yes, but also the fact that so many divorced-and-remarried men have been elected (and consecrated) as bishops in Continuing Anglican bodies speaks to much the same effect.

St. Nikao said...

Have you wondered why Hepworth would be so eager to return to the church and fellowship that treated him so badly?

The psychological distress and pain caused by abuse or the guilt of sin creates unrest and inner conflict or disturbance that is so strong that it provokes the desire to try to 'undo' the wrong and make it right so the mind can return to peace and rest.

John A. Hollister said...

Professor Tighe referred somewhat derisively to "the fact that so many divorced-and-remarried men have been elected (and consecrated) as bishops in Continuing Anglican bodies".

Of course, this use of the phrase "divorced-and-remarried" is at best careless, at least as applied where broken natural and civil unions have been submitted to the scrutiny of ecclesiastical authority and such authority has determined that those unions were never sacramental ones. In those cases, the only accurate term that could be applied to the men in question who have subsequently entered into unions approved by those authorities is "married".

As Professor Tighe's own Roman Communion is famous for the assiduousness with which it promotes this process – every Roman diocese has its "marriage tribunal" devoted essentially exclusively to such cases and nearly anyone who has Roman Catholic friends knows someone who has been the subject of such a case – he, above all, should recognize the slipshod nature of his terminology.

While there certainly are persons who feel that having been the subject of such a determination of sacramental nullity somehow disqualifies a man for election to the episcopate, I have yet to hear a truly principled exposition of that position. In addition to its lack of defensible theoretical underpinnings, it has the great disadvantage that it necessarily implies either that there are two different Sacraments of Holy Order – one for the episcopate and one for priests and deacons – or two different Sacraments of Matrimony – one for the episcopate and one for other members of the Church – or both.

Finally, the comment in its context seems inescabably to calumniate the men in question as, at best, having a certain lack of personal restraint and, at worst, being morally lax. In view of that, I cannot forbear from pointing out that any fair appraisal of the overall performance in office of Anglican bishops who have received decrees of nullity and thereafter have married (sacramentally, i.e., for the first time so far as the Church is concerned) will find it compares more than favorably with the behavior of the not insignificant number of Roman bishops who have been forced to resign because of their own personal pedophilia, ephebophilia, or other predatory sexual behaviors.

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

In today's news, Apb. Hepworth cries foul regarding church decision:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/hepworth-cries-foul-as-church-inquiry-clears-priest-of-rape/story-e6frg6nf-1226208570690

His position is a true example of 'double-mindedness' which is the ambivalence that becomes the inheritance and plight of abused children toward their caretakers who betray and abuse them. It is a state of inner conflict and unrest, one of the painful consequences of sinful trespass of God's boundaries.

It seems to me that Hepworth is still in denial about 'his part' (an AA Twelve Step term) of the abuse. At age 27, he was past the age of accountability for still carrying on sexually with other males.

Perhaps the RC practice of confession and ablution without accountability and the lack of accountability/support groups for sexual addictions in those days is part of the problem.

By many states' law, any therapist or minister who learns of harmful intent, child or elder abuse or suicidal threat must report it. Failure to report is a prosecutable criminal act. This should be the case for all states.

Anonymous said...

The Hepworth case certainly highlights the hypocrisy of the RC.

Let's call it the Archbishop Favalora syndrome. Gays can operate freely, if it's just slightly under the radar...a kind of open secret or tacit understanding, don't you know.

It was not until LAITY gathered irrefutable evidence and sent it to the Vatican (probably signature and return receipt required) and published their findings, that the gay-tolerant Vatican replaced Favalora with Wenski. Wenski did NOT clear out Favalora's homosexual harem, but just rearranged them. Kind of like Jesus rearranging the money-changers tables instead of throwing them out...or a surgeon transplanting cancer tumors throughout the organs of the body rather than removing the tumor.

Moreover, the Hunwicke incident was an exercise of gaystapo action, slapping and excluding anyone who speaks out openly against the rainbow games going on within the RC priesthood.

Stop trying to make the RC into a utopia, Dr. Tighe. It's not.

The Penn State situation is a Roman Catholic situation. All the players were from birth steeped in the sexual abuse/perversion culture that permeates the RC. They were conditioned to not to react or to be indignant, (because they had seen and/or experience this behavior from their priests all their lives) just like the majority of RC bishops.

Fr. Wells said...

"That Hepworth remains as head of the TAC, well, that he was ever elected in the first place, speaks volumes of the discernment of their bishops and priests."

No one has been more strenuously opposed to the Hepworth project than I have been. But since this entirely predictable outcome has finally surfaced, I feel constrained to say something almost kind about the man. It has been as clear as a day in July to all candid observers that Hepworth was several bricks shy of a full load.
One learned observer, from the other side of the Tiber, has described him as a "charismatic enthusiast." It is truly a reflection on the TAC bishops that they elevated him and followed him as long and as far as they did.

But it is also a reflection on the learned gentlemen of the Vatican that they played along with him for so long a time. They apparently believed the nonsense about 400K (or was it 700K) adherents in TAC. More than one RC publication appeared to take this hoax at face value.

It would now appear that the Vatican officials simply used an emotionally crippled and delusional man for their own purposes. "Generous offer" looks more like a cynical scheme. Since Hepworth has served his purpose for the Vatican officials, he can be thrown overboard.

There is a cliche about people who deserve each other.
LKW

AFS1970 said...

This is sadly a loose.loose situation for all Anglicans. All because of one man and a choice which he will have to make.

If he chooses to go forward as a RC Layman, then it will be one of the first times that someone of this high a position within the continuum has essentially agreed with Rome on the status of Anglican holy orders. This will do nothing but harm to the continuing movement as a whole.

If on the other hand, he goes back on his word and remains as Anglican clergy, it will do nothing but bring disrepute onto the TAC as a whole, including but not limited to the ACA. He will be forever seen as someone who said one thing and did another. Not to mention the cries of "purple fever" will intensify a great deal.

I really can not see any positive outcome out of this, no matter which way he goes, as too much time will have to be spent of damage control even by those outside of the TAC, which will draw time and resources away from mission.

Anonymous said...

If Hepworth does not return to the Roman Catholic Church it will require considerable spin to reconcile this decision with his often-quoted statements about his willingness to do so even as a layman. But if he DOES return to Rome, it will say nothing about his perception of Anglican orders, as he was ordained deacon and priest by Roman Catholic bishops. They would not deny that he still has the sacramental character of Holy Orders; he would simply be prohibited from exercising priestly ministry.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Confessor:

The new episcopal leadership of the ACA does not deserve to be blamed for Hepworth; they are not responsible for what happened, and are very responsible bishops in the other sense of the word "responsible."

Robert Ian Williams said...

In all fairness to Doctor Tighe historic Anglicanism since 1559never allowed divorce and re-marriage.

The Episciopal Church allowed it from the nineteenth century and the Church of Ebngland only from 2001.

RC Cola said...

Anonymous (just prior to Fr. Wells):

While I am all too aware of the power of the Lavender Mafia in the USA (especially among the Bernardin and Weakland disciples), to paint the perversions of homosexuality, pedophilia and ephebophilia solely on the RCC is
not only grossly unjust, but plainly false.

I'd say the US and Irish bishops are much more to blame than the Pope and Curia, but those bishops are doing a better job of playing the PR game. They resist all controlling authority coming from Rome, yet when the poop hit the fan, they pointed at Rome as the controlling authority--even though they were the ones who did the covering up!

I recall in the 1990s a classmate made a snide remark about Catholic priests and children. Our professor, a very bitter ex-Catholic, was instantly enraged because he claimed that the incidences of RC priests committing sex crimes is about 1-5% whereas about 25% of married men commit the very sex crimes everyone blames on RC priests. I would love to know where he got his stats from, but it's interesting to see that a man who had every reason to grind an axe against the RCC stand up to defend it.

Here are some counter examples to Anonymous's asinine claim that sex crime is RC culture.

...because all of the brutality and rape in British public schools owned and operated by the C of E were only raping and beating students because the residual Romanism.

...because U.S. prisons--where fresh meat get their front teeth punched out so as not to bite down when being forced to perform oral sex--are all run by Roman Catholic Church?

...because the prison in Abu Ghraib, Iraq was run by Papists?

...because the public school teachers-- many women, remarkably-- who have sex with their students just taking advantage of a back-to-school sale on Romanism?

...because the Greeks were consciously "pre-figuring" Romanism by taking young men in as lovers?

...because Emperor Tiberius trained Roman priests?

In short, your accusation that Penn State is a matter of Roman Culture is a dung heap sans the lovely snow covering.

Fr. Wells said...

"While there certainly are persons who feel that having been the subject of such a determination of sacramental nullity somehow disqualifies a man for election to the episcopate, I have yet to hear a truly principled exposition of that position."

Count me as one who unflinchingly hold to that position. I do not know what constitutes a "principled exposition of that position," so I will modestly submit a pragmatic argument. A clergyman who has obtained a civil divorce and subsequently gotten married again is simply a bad example. A DAR bishop is a bad example to his clergy, A DAR priest is a bad example to his people, and a church which sanctifies such situations through theological gymnastics is a bad example to the world.

If Decrees of nullity enable a person to get married in church, they do nothing to remove scandal; at most they demonstrate that the person has lived in an immoral relationship. (A so-called "invalid marriage" is not exactly a holy estate.)

We all had to answer the question,
"Will you be diligent to frame and fashion your own selves and your familes, according to the Doctrine of Christ; and to make both yourselves and them, as much as lieth in you, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ?"
LKW

RC Cola said...

My criticism of the RCC's annulment process vis-a-vis Holy Orders is that they will not allow a man with an annulment to become a priest.

On one hand it's to prevent some scandal among the flock. (Although I wonder how could an annulment scandalize anyone--considering what we see and hear everyday on TV and the internet.)

On the other hand it says to me that they don't really believe what they teach about nullity. If the marriage never really happened sacramentally, then there should be no obstacle to receiving Holy Orders. In way way I think it is a backdoor admission that the marriage really did happen.

A friend is the Defender of the Bond in a Tribunal. Perhaps one of the losingest lawyers in history.

Anonymous said...

The soon to be former Apb. Hepworth has a need for "lots-o-$$$$" to maintain a certain lifestyle, so what better way to raise some immediate cash (nee payoff) by proclaiming aggregious behavior from an entity with deep pockets. It is an interesting gambit, when you are about to be thrown out and your authority is now nil.

Verumi

Canon Tallis said...

For RC Cola (whose comments are generally literate and well thought)to blame the homosexual problem in the Roman Church on US and Irish bishops while exempting the ongoing influence of the bishop of Rome and the Roman curia simply won't wash. Perhaps he is unaware that one of the very first things which the Vatican did after the election of Benedict XVI was to request our state department to quash his indictment in the state of Texas on charges of aiding and abetting a number of Roman priests to escape the law by providing them with money and documents to leave the United States. The Dallas newspaper traced a fair number of such priests to the Vatican where they were working and provided photographs of said priests.

It was well over two decades ago, reading the work of a French historian, who asserted and provided examples of the papal curia actively promoting homosexuality among the European clergy to achieve their goal of suppressing clerical marriage while achieving the appearance of clerical celibacy. I think than anyone who knows the history of the papacy should be only too well aware of the continual sexual scandals rampant in the lives of the popes and the higher Roman clergy. Not all of it, of course, was homosexual there was enough of it, especially in the 16th century.

Anonymous said...

RC Cola writes: "to paint the perversions of homosexuality, pedophilia and ephebophilia solely on the RCC is not only grossly unjust, but plainly false....I'd say the US and Irish bishops are much more to blame than the Pope and Curia, but those bishops are doing a better job of playing the PR game."
---
I DID NOT say the RC was responsible for ALL global or historical perversion - just responsible their own home-grown, covered-up, tacitly tolerated DESPITE protestations, documents and canons to the contrary.

Favalora is but the tip of the iceberg.
There are more, many more:
Marcial Maciel. Raymond Lahey. Cardinal Law.

Go to Bishop-Accountability.org and also click on their daily Abuse Tracker which carries news stories of sexual abuse and financial misdeeds by clergy and teachers of every denomination from around the world.

Penn State is the perfect illustration - an easily viewable microcosm of the macrocosm of tolerated and hidden predation and perversion.

There are few heroes in this...but the two Moms who reported their sons' abuse to the authorities and FINALLY got the ball rolling on indicting Sandusky. The creeps on the football staff continued to associate with Sandusky at fundraisers for the Second Mile for a DECADE after his first investigation and McQueary's discovery.

As for the rest of the 'clean' RC clergy...they knew the C**P that has been going on in Catholic Church.

THEY KNEW AND KNOW NOW.

After Penn State, the laws will change and they will be required to report it or be prosecuted.

Hallelulah!

Anonymous said...

I do not think it is accurate that the RC Church will not ordain men whose marriage has been annulled. I read an article in a theological education journal a few years ago about a seminary which catered to men over thirty (perhaps Sacred Heart in Milwaukee?) and about 20% were formerly married, including both widowers and those whose marriages had been annulled.

Anonymous said...

Father Andrew Greeley has observed sociologically that the last remaining tolerated prejudice in the US is anti-Catholicism.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Prejudice is, by definition, coming to an opinion without having judged from facts. Therefore, Fr. Greeley's observation is irrelevant to the contents of this blog.

Shaughn said...

It's worth pointing out, I think, that in terms of pure logical argumentation corruption within a given system does not invalidate that system. To give a secular argument, I see it frequently in discussions about gun control.

"People might misuse guns. So, let's make guns harder to get because obviously it's wrong to let people have guns." Meh. There will always be corruption. That's the stain of sin for you. Rome has this problem. So did the Anglican Communion of old. So do the continuing churches now.

It's also not really the sort of action Our Lord used where He saw corruption. He didn't see the corruption in the temple and say, "Close the temple. Stop doing temple sacrifices." He removed the corruption from them.

Could Rome do more? Sure. But saying "Don't follow Roman Catholicism. It's full of icky bad sinners." isn't an especially compelling argument. It's not an argument about the system, but against individuals within the system. And the current folks in place are making strides to fix it--just as we are making strides to fix problems in the Continuum that aren't related to the systems in place, but rather the people in them.

I am not trying to minimize the problems of the RCC, by any means, but merely pointing out that human failure doesn't invalidate a theological system. Critique of theology and argumentation do.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Critique of theology is something we do here all the time, and with a very strong record. But, this issue is about credibility in a matter of corruption.

Canon Tallis said...

Since all serious and knowledgeable Anglican consider themselves Catholics just as Elizabeth I did her her letter to the Emperor Frederick, his comment could apply equally to us. However, we know that from his point of view he was writing only about Romans.

Even when I was a teenager it was no secret that Latin American countries considered it open season on non-Roman missionaries and they were frequently murdered or subjected to other violence just as Christians and Jews are in Islamic states. Father Greeley seeks victim status for an organization whose history of violence against others is only too well known from the attempts to kill Elizabeth I, blow up Parliament, the St. Bartholomew Day slaughter, and on and on and on. Rome, fortunately, can no longer get by with such behavior and knows it. The question remains as to whether they have ever repented of same. The other huge question is whether they will ever square themselves with Holy Scripture and the first four General Councils. There present behavior would seem to answer both questions in the negative and as such they are a drag on all those who call themselves Christians.

Our problem as Anglicans is that we have those who believe them to be the very model of catholic Christianity, a model to be imitated to the point that our Anglican identity all but disappears. They prefer to ape the modern Roman Church to the exclusion of the model of ancient Catholicism and it is precisely such that has caused almost all of the present debacle. You would almost believe that Alexander VI had a black letter holy day in the English prayer book. Not that he was all bad; he at least received the Jews fleeing Ferdinand and Isabella's Inquisition and protected them in the papal states.

I pray for the day when the majority of the bishops and clergy in the Continuum are not ashamed to be "mere Anglicans."

Canon Tallis said...

And critique of the theology of the Roman system is precisely what is needed. The corruption of the Roman system grows from its own false theology, its rejection of St. Paul's teaching on Holy Orders in First Timothy and Titus and its attempt to make the Roman Church itself a kingdom of this world.

The papacy is an institution based upon a strained and false interpretation of a saying of our Lord. That and a few myths because the Romans were upset that Constantine moved the capital of the empire to Constantinople and raised its bishop to a position equal to that of Rome's. But, then any position above that of bishop is a construct of the world. There are no archbishops, cardinals or patriarchs in Holy Scripture which makes the whole of the Roman system the imposition of a non-sacramental system on top of the sacramental one.

And, yes Shaughn, we are sinners all, but the attempt to turn the whole of the Western Church into an imitation of the Cluniac monastic system really is nothing less than a rejection of Christ's Church itself. And that is a theological issue.