Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Archbishop Hepworth and the missing thread

This deletion was not our idea. Archbishop Hepworth requested it of Albion Land. I wish this had not been requested. Obviously, all who read the post knew that it contained nothing derogatory about the TAC or Archbishop Hepworth. Some items had been classified as "not for publication," and I assure our readers that each and every such item was treated as off the record, and so they were not posted. In our view, the exposition that Archbishop Hepworth made regarding the TAC´s conversations with Rome could only serve to allay doubts about the TAC´s commitment to Anglicanism, doubts that have been repeatedly raised over the years since those conversations began. However, if the archbishop insists on acting in secrecy, that is a choice for him to make and for the faithful of the TAC to judge. The Continuum is not a player in this game, and it is not for us to judge, though our general view is that transparency is generally always the best policy in governance, including the governance of the Church.


Fr William Bauer said...

As you may remember, the bishops of the TAC said they would remain silent until an answer from the Vatican was received.
I was thus surprised when ++Hepworth made comments in his interview with Fr. Hart.
Perhaps the archbishop asked that the post be deleted only because it seemed to be a hedging of his previous decision to NOT comment until an answer was received from the Vatican.

Canon Tallis said...

While I believe that Albion was absolutely right to delete the post if +Hepworth requested it, I also very strongly believe that the archbishop did himself, the ACA and TAC no favours by so doing. Indeed I would suggest that it was almost unAnglican to do so. If the archbishop wanted nothing noted he should not have given the interview, but having done so it is his own charactor that he calls into question by asking for its removal.

Those of us who care strongly for the survival of classical prayer book Anglicanism can only thank and praise The Continuum for its transparency in this incident.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

It was not an interview exactly, even though I asked four questions. Perhaps he decided that their partner to the discussion- Rome - would think too much was said. We shall extend benefit of the doubt, not having anything else to go on.

Anonymous said...

As an ACA layman who is fairly sympathetic to the TAC's approach to Rome, I was happy to see Fr. Hart's post last week, it portrayed Hepworth and the TAC in a most positive light and was extremely imformative without diving into sensitive details. I was in fact present in Baltimore and just a few yards away from Fr. Hart and Archbishop Hepworth as they talked and was looking forward to reading related posts. Unfortunately, the Archbishop's actions regarding the post seem all too typical of his apparent need for secrecy. I would pray that he might have a change of heart and remember always that the ACA's polity involves lay people to a great extend, possibly greater than other TAC member Churches. I also pray that he truly does have some understanding of the richness and fullness of Anglican and English heritage and is not simply seeking to morph the TAC into some English language Roman Catholic traditionalist fraternity.


Fr. John said...

Fr. Hart did not start this discussion. I want to remind everyone that the issue was opened when Archbishop Hepworth published the letter he received from Rome with, what can honestly be described as, great fanfare.

The announcement was trumpeted with many "thanks be to God" exclamations. It was heralded as a great, long awaited, breakthrough.

Coming on the heels of the announcement by the Vatican that the Anglican Use Pastoral Provision was to be extended to "continuing Anglican Churches," and Cardinal Kaspar's brutally frank address to the Anglican bishops at Lambeth seemingly ending any hope of inter-communion with the official Anglican Communion, I think we may be forgiven for searching for additional information.

These things do impact on all of our churches, both as parishes, and as provinces. When Rome makes a public and overt appeal to our constituent parishes without first consulting our bishops we have cause to be concerned.

Anonymous said...

While Abp Hepworth surely had his reasons for withdrawing this interview, he plainly missed an opportunity to popularize his project beyond the boundaries of
TAC-ACA, or even within those boundaries. This precipitous action on his part has not brought him more supporters, but fewer. But the decision was his, and he has made it.

John Dixon said...

Transparency sometimes does a disservice when timing and sensitivity are still in order. I am sure most will agree the Washington Post and the NYT will differ on the issue of transparency with the government or military even if transparency means people will be compromised and die. Somebody had a ‘right’ to know! In our hyper-egalitarian society transparency is likely a bit overrated. Patience is a rare virtue.

I too, sat close by during Fr. Hart’s interview and while I could not hear anything I certainly did watch body language. I also had opportunity to converse a bit with the Archbishop and I find him to be an engaging, sincere and down to earth man, I never detected any desire to cloak or dissemble or deceive anyone on the post-ARCIC discussions. I have no reason to doubt his sincerity and as someone who has been critical of the lack of news I am also able to observe that no matter what he says he draws fire. No doubt someone in his position is served well by possessing a thick skin.

Maybe all of you are wrong. Maybe it is not the issue of Rome at all, or at least not directly. The Archbishop’s comments covered several issues and perhaps one of those (disputed here) may be the reason. Since you cannot withdraw a portion …

Possibly, a man who is working for unity may choose not to have his comments become fodder for dissent and pointless argument. Continuing to assert that the effort is part and parcel of the Anglican Use does not make it so more than beating a dead horse will get you a ride.

Why not a bit of fanfare? If indeed the letter signifies Rome no longer ascribes credibility to the heretical Canterbury Communion but recognizes the Continuing Church is the rightful heir than indeed it is noteworthy and an historic turning point.

I would be interested to know if the discussions between Canterbury and Rome during the 60’s and 70’s (prior to WO killing any real chance of unity), were completly ‘transparent’?

Fr. Robert Hart said...


Actually, we could have deleted a portion.

Continuing to assert that the effort is part and parcel of the Anglican Use does not make it so more than beating a dead horse will get you a ride.

That was one of the points he clarified; that it is not related to the AU at all, and that the announcment from Archbishop Myers was old news, unrelated, etc. To leave the report of the discussion in place would have provided a place on the web that states clearly this simpe fact: The TAC-Rome discussions are separate from AU.

Anonymous said...


In your conversations with the Archbishop did you get the feel that he has a solid grasp on the full package of Anglicanism and what it is that the Continuing Churches in America have in fact been trying to continue? Not to say he doesn't, I am just not altogether sure sometimes...


Anonymous said...

"John" writes:

"Why not a bit of fanfare? "

The "fanfare" (I would call it hoop-la) was disproportional to the
contents of Rome's letter, aptly summarized by "Don't call us, we'll call you."

John writes further:

"I would be interested to know if the discussions between Canterbury and Rome during the 60’s and 70’s (prior to WO killing any real chance of unity), were completly ‘transparent’?"

You are attempting an analogy where none exists. The ARCIC conversations did not have the same stated goals. Goood try, John, but no cigar.

John A. Hollister said...

Just a cautionary note. Fr. John referred as a sign of hope to "Cardinal Kaspar's brutally frank address to the Anglican bishops at Lambeth seemingly ending any hope of inter-communion with the official Anglican Communion".

That address should not be taken by non-Lambeth Anglicans as too strong a sign of welcome from Rome. This, after all, was the same Cardinal Kasper who, virtually on the even of last week's Lambeth Conference, delivered another public address in which he stated baldly that Rome does not want "too many Anglicans".

John A. Hollister+

John Dixon said...

Fr Hart,

I understand your point; I am merely trying to show that there is more than one possibility. The fact he clarified the ARU certainly did not change the minds of those who insist on believing their own opinion as fact as one comment demonstrates. The issue I am thinking of was not this issue.

Good question. I am not sure I understand what you mean by “the full package of” if you mean is he concerned with Anglo-Protestantism? I think it fair to say that party already has many proponents and is not interested in the welfare of Anglo Catholics in the least. And that is a sad bit of testimony.

My impression is that he understands the historic differences between what is represented by the CC existence and what has been built up in that casue and the Roman Communion very well and at the same time he is looking for a real solution to our sad divisions, one which may not have been possible given the Anglican Communion’s situation decades ago. We may not care to be concerned but there is no reason to think our situation is more urgent or our opinions more important than those of the souls he is charged with the care of in other poorer countries regardless of their numbers and I expect his actions reflect those people as well.

If our divisions as Christians are a scandal and a stumbling block, and I do not think any Christian can deny that that is the case, then surely if the Archbishop can build a bridge spanning some of the gap, than he will have accomplished something that I know of no other example.

I am not an Anglo Catholic. I did not grow up in an Anglo Catholic Parish but rather a Episcopal low church semi-Presbyterian/ Calvinist social club. When I finally figured out ECUSA was sinking fast it was the Anglo Catholics who threw us a life line. This was after we were rejected by the Anglo Protestants because we did not have enough money. That being said, I am going to honor that charity even though much of the Continuing Church first appeared ‘Romish’ to me including most of you. Because of the sacrificial example of servant-hood and love and charity showed to me and my fellow Christians at our mission I withheld my knees from my forehead and started reading the likes of Francis Hall and Blessed Bishop Grafton’s works (yes me the ex-Calvinst used the word “Blessed” for Grafton) and it seems to me, a plain guy looking for Jesus who has no ax to grind, that the Anglo Catholic by far has a greater and more precise grasp of the differences between Anglicanism and Romanism and can articulate those differences without resorting to insults and distortions used by the Anglo Protestant. In short Anglo Catholics understand the differences over against the Roman positions far better than most Protestants.

So to answer your question the best I can, I see no departure from that understanding and tradition in any contact I have had with the Archbishop and I had several opportunities to observe, listen to his conversations with other clergy and even joke around a bit. Besides his other obvious gifts he has that great Australian sense of humor.

At the end of the day I see my former denomination crumbling under the Gnostic Protestants described in the book of the same title by Lee. I see the Continuing Church as a body not dissimilar to the Jews led out of Egypt by prophetic and holy men. I see those men struggling with the gifts required to take the movement to the next level. I do not believe the men who were the ones to lead us out of bondage are the same ones needed to lead us to what God has in store for us. I do think that now we will start to see God send and or equip the men with the necessary gifts to bring us where He desires us to be. I think it wise for all of us to pray over this and watch soberly whether this is in fact this work is that of the Holy Ghost. Patience will serve us all here.

Maybe, after our 40 years in the wilderness has past and our divisions have all died off, the younger generation will rise up and lead us into the Promised Land. It may be then that we see the value of having someone willing to take it on the chin blaze a trail for us. Frow what I gather from the OT such as this are never very popular.

Maybe all this will lead to nothing at all but it may lead to something we never imagined possible.

I can only say I have no reason to believe ++Hepworth’s efforts are not pleasing to Jesus Christ and until I do he has my support and prayers.

John Dixon said...


I merely asked. AS usual you want to read your deepest suspicions into everything.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Abba Eban once said of the Palestinian Arabs: "They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

For three and a half days we were able to provide clarification by way of straight answers to serious questions and concerns. The fact that these concerns had been raised in several reader's comments, often by TAC members, proves what a splendid opportunity this was.

Nonetheless, Archbishop Hepworth still has that opportunity.

Anonymous said...

John writes in his usual tone:

"I merely asked. AS usual you want to read your deepest suspicions into everything."

It's funny that in one post you are lecturing us about the spirit of Jesus, and in the very next you are releasing a snotty personal innuendo. What reason do I have not to be suspicious of a person who does not disclose his identity?
And what about those 400, 450, 700 thousand members? Any real basis for these figures?

Albion Land said...

John says:

I do not believe the men who were the ones to lead us out of bondage are the same ones needed to lead us to what God has in store for us.

I ask: On what grounds do you make such a sweeping statement?

John says:

I do think that now we will start to see God send and or equip the men with the necessary gifts to bring us where He desires us to be.

My question is the same.

Anonymous said...

Charity begins at home. I am not
sure that complete jurisdictional
unity is ever really possible. I am
not sure that is what Christ was
really concerned about when he prayed for us all to be one. I
think that Christ would be happy if we were just friendly, respectful, willing to pray together, willing to not snipe at each other in public, etc. We can be unified as faithful disciples in Christ with all Christians, not just Roman Catholics, not just the Greek Orthodox, etc. We have common items of unity with most faithful Christians. All faithful Christians believe in the Holy Trinity. All faithful Christians believe in Holy Communion, with slight variations. Al faithful Christians believe that Christ died on the Cross to redeem the world from sin as the Incarnate Son of God. All faithful Christians believe in Baptism. We can and absolutely should have unity with all faithful Christians in all denominations who believe in these
basic fundamental Christian beliefs. We do not have to share the Holy Commmunion with all, as there are variations in beliefs about the Holy Communion. But we can and
absolutely should, if we truly believe in Christ, share in services of prayer and scripture together. "Christians" sniping at one another in public is not only tacky and distasteful, it violates Christ's prayer that we should all be one. Charity starts at home. How can we hope to show love and fellowship to other Christians if we don't extend the same to those faithful Christians in the Anglican family? There are still orthodox, Bible-believing Christians left in faithful parishes in TEC. There are faithful, bible-believing Christians in CANA, AMiA, and all of the alphabet soup of Anglicans.
We need to show our love, our support, our kindness, our friendship and fellowship to all of them. Are there differing beliefs on the issue of women's ordination? Yes, there are. And no
Anglican who does not believe in WO
should take the Eucharist from a female clergyman or any clergyman in a jurisdiction that practices the same. But that is absolutely NO
EXCUSE to not pray with them, to not show them respect as fellow Anglicans, to not show them the same basic respect that we show Roman Catholics (who here in the US overwhelmingly support WO), or
Southern Baptists. I believe that if we cannot at least show public kindness and respect, to all faithful, Bible-believing Christians, no matter our differences with them, or what denomination they belong to, then we in the Continuum are grieving Christ Our Saviour. If we cannot do at least that, I question if we in the Continuum are faithful Christians ourselves. We don't have to compromise our important beliefs to be kind, to pray with others, and show Christ's love to all in any denomination. I certainly don't advocate jurisdictional unity of the Continuum with Baptists, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, or any other denomination because not all of their beliefs are the same as ours, but on those issues where we agree, we need to show them Christian love, Christian respect, and pray for one another. If we did that, we'd go a long way towards the unity that Christ prayed for in his prayer.

I'm a faithful supporter of the 1928 BCP and faithful prayerbook
catholic myself. Sometimes attitudes shown by some, not all for sure, in the Continuum make me shudder to admit I'm part of it, but as long as the Continuum supports the 1928 BCP, I'll support it and pray for those who fail to show charity to others.
Christian charity is a must.

1928 BCP Supporter

John Dixon said...

Well Albion, I guess I have not seen any evidence to the contrary on the first question and the participants are of an age and as to your second demand I have read evidence of that hope in Holy Scripture.

Why would I doubt it? If you think I am wrong please correct me.

Fr_Rob said...

Dear 1928 BCP Supporter,

A hearty Amen to everything you have said! I want to encourage you and assure you that your sentiments echo those of many, if not most of us, in the Continuum.

Fr. Rob Whitaker
St. John's ACC, Virginia Beach

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Fr. Rob!

1928 BCP Supporter

John Dixon said...

Anybody notice this item:

Katie Sherrod of the Diocese of Fort Worth reveals an attempt by several clergy, with the apparent support of their bishop, to take the Diocese to the Roman Catholic Church. According to the document William A Carey, Charles A Hough, Louis L. Tobola, and Christopher Stainbrook, leaders in the Diocese of Fort Worth, claiming the Bishop Iker 'gave us his "unequivocally support" to proceed further by having this conversation with you', proposed to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Fort Worth that the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth become a Roman Catholic Diocese.

Maybe Bishop Iker would grant an interview. It would interesting