Hepworth declines Ordinariate?

That seems to be the gist of this post at Fr Chadwicke’s site.

To save you trawling through the whole post, here are the relevant paragraphs:

Several things have come to light in two letters written by Archbishop Hepworth – to his clergy (to which I belong as a priest) and to the College of Bishops. He firstly announces his intention to resign as Primate of the TAC when it is known which bishops will resign and become Roman Catholics and which will remain to constitute the TAC College of Bishops. Those who will resign and become Roman Catholics do so with the Archbishop’s blessing and encouragement. Secondly, Archbishop Hepworth recognises, in the absence of dispensations of his canonical irregularities, that he cannot even become a lay member of the future Australian Ordinariate. His only avenue to becoming a Roman Catholic layman is through the Archdiocese of Adelaide. He might as well wear a cassock and pectoral cross in Saudi Arabia!

He informs us that he intends to remain the Bishop Ordinary of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia. He will also assume the small Nippon Kirisuto Sei Ko Kai in Japan under his jurisdiction. We have as yet little idea of the number of Australian clergy and faithful wishing to follow him. “I remain the Bishop Ordinary in Australia and Japan, and under legislation of the Canadian General Synod, Primate of the ACCC. Those positions will be untouched by the forthcoming resignation”. He has told me personally that I would remain licensed as a priest under his jurisdiction. Whether that would be the Patrimony of the Primate or some kind of new “personal” jurisdiction, I do not know.

I’m not quite sure about Fr Chadwicke’s conclusion that “in the absence of dispensations of his canonical irregularities, that he cannot even become a lay member of the future Australian Ordinariate” but that “His only avenue to becoming a Roman Catholic layman is through the Archdiocese of Adelaide”. Why would becoming an lay Catholic in the Ordinariate – something which has actually been offered to him – be impossible? Wouldn’t he need “dispensation of his canonical irregularities” to become a lay member of the Adelaide Diocese also? Canonical lawyers reading this post may have more information.

In the mean time, it seems that Moses has led his people to the banks of the Jordan once again.

About Schütz

I am Catholic, married to Cathy, father of Maddy & Mia. Since 2002, I have been the Executive Officer of the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. I was once a Lutheran pastor, but a "year of grace" and soul-searching led me into the Catholic Church. It was a bumpy ride, but with the support of my (still Lutheran) wife, I was finally confirmed on June 16, 2003.
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8 Responses to Hepworth declines Ordinariate?

  1. Joshua says:

    Only those who were not Catholics to begin with, but rather Anglicans, can become officially registered members of the Ordinariate – but of course any Catholic can attend Ordinariate Masses, etc., just as I am not Ukrainian Rite, but can go to a Ukrainian Liturgy if I so desire, and de facto participate in all their parish activities…

    I think the distinction being made is rather unreal.

  2. Alexander says:

    I’m guessing it hangs on Article 5 §1 of the “Complementary Norms” to Anglicanorum cœtibus, which says (in part): “Those baptised previously as Catholics outside the Ordinariate are not ordinarily eligible for membership, unless they are members of a family belonging to the Ordinariate”.

    I don’t pretend to be a canon lawyer, but the normal understanding of that clause in the blogosphere seems to be the word “ordinarily” refers to the exception mentioned in the same clause. If so, this would seem to make it difficult for Abp Hepworth to join an ordinariate.

    And regardless, the questions become:— Who makes the dispensation (Rome, the Ordinary, the local bishop, someone else)? Did the letter he receive inform him he would not be dispensed from this restriction either?

  3. Peregrinus says:

    “I don’t pretend to be a canon lawyer, but the normal understanding of that clause in the blogosphere seems to be the word “ordinarily” refers to the exception mentioned in the same clause. If so, this would seem to make it difficult for Abp Hepworth to join an ordinariate.”

    I’m not a canonist, but in my ignorance I disagree with this reading. If you rewrote the salient part of Art. 5 without the word “ordinarily”, then it would mean that ex-Catholics could only join the ordinariate as members of a family belonging to the ordinariate. The addition of the word “ordinarily” must add something to the provision; otherwise it would not be there. So my reading is “extraordinarily, ex-Catholics can become members of the ordinariate, even if not as members of an ordinariate family”.

    The question of who can grant this extraordinary permission is a good one, and I don’t have a complete answer. But I think we can assume that Rome, if it cares to, can exercise or withhold the exercise of this discretion. And based on what Fr. Chadwick writes Rome has decided that in Abp. Hepworth’s case permission will not be granted.

    David, there isn’t the same obstacle to Abp. Hepworth becoming a Catholic through the Archdiocese. The objection to his entering the ordinariate is that, being a Catholic, he defected/went into schism/whatever term you want to use, and Art. 5 of the Complementary Norms means that this is a canonical obstacle to his joining the ordinariate. (It’s not an insurmountable obstacle, but in the event it seems it hasn’t been surmounted.) But there is no similar canonical obstacle to a defected Catholic wishing to reconcile with the church in the usual way; it happens all the time, and requires no dispensation or extraordinary permission. Other canonical matters – his marriage, his status as a cleric – present the same issues regardless of whether he enters the ordinariate or the archdiocese.

    Joshua finds the distinction being made “rather unreal”. He has a point. This whole exercise gives me the impression of having become bogged down in technical canonical issues, which if true is very disappointing. Fr Chadwick’s posts suggest that the canonical issues may be symptoms of a more fundamental disagreement/misunderstanding (or possibly two such misunderstandings). First, the TAC expects corporate or at least collective reunion, while Rome sees this as a series of individual conversions/reconciliations with individuals who are traditional Anglicans. Secondly, the TAC thinks this is about the TAC, whereas Rome thinks this is about the Church of England.

    • Joshua says:

      Yes, P., you’ve nailed it: apparently the T.A.C. thought/was encouraged to believe that they would be corporately reunited to Rome, in the mode of the Union of Brest, whereby a Uniate ritual church would be set up – and, in particular, all the current T.A.C. clergy would ipso facto become Roman clergy, by a more or less automatic “re-ordination”; whereas in reality all current T.A.C. clergy are being screened, and only those without canonical impediment get the nulla osta.

      • Joshua says:

        P.S. While from a T.A.C. perspective their hopes seem perfectly understandable, from a Catholic perspective I cannot see how anything other than what is being done could be done. It is a sad situation.

  4. Tony Bartel says:

    It really could not have ended in any other way. The surprising thing is that anybody every thought it would end differently.

  5. kate says:

    Sad news indeed.

    I pray that AB Hepworth does a rethink on this.

    Being a layman in the Archdiocese of Adelaide would indeed be trying; but trials can be a path to sainthood! And who knows what could change in the not too distant future given the string of upcoming bishop appointments.

    Moreover, as Joshua points out, in practice he can be part of the Ordinariate even if not in name (though if he is married to a non-catholic, could he not enter the Ordinariate that way?). And there are a few other decent parishes over there, due to the FSSP, the Dominicans, and a few other traditionalist and conservative clergy! Alternatively, once his assorted canonical problems have been resolved, he could decamp to another more amenable diocese and try again on some of these issues…

    The most important issue for him has to be union with Rome – he has consistently shown that he knows it to be the right answer, he shouldn’t baulk now.

  6. William Tighe says:

    You may wish to read this posting:

    http://catholicusanglicanus.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/three-questions/

    which contains three questions from Fr. Chadwick, and my response to them.

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