First of all the reason Archbishop Hepworth was judged in his absence was his unwillingness to go to India and stand trial. He was quoted to say in the Australian papers that the TAC’s tribunal was in la la land. You are talking about someone to represent him. Considering the background , I am not sure whether anyone would be keen to take this on. His former mate Chancellor Peter Slipper was offcourse in no position to help hisI friend. He is in deep trouble himself. Deborah you will need to bear in mind that Archbishop Hepworth tried to sack Bishop Robarts, who questioned financial irregularities ( that is probably to say it mildly) – this is how Abp John dealt with anyone , who dared to speak up. Fortunately Bishop Robarts was able to secure his position and it is to his credit that he took the issue on. There is also the fact that Archbishop Hepworth failed to leave an alternative for those in the ACCA/TAC who were not going to go Rome.
There’s more over at Fr. Smuts’ site.
I think Fr. Bakker misses my point about the message the tribunal sends to the rest of the world. To me, the new TAC looks vindictive and out for their pound of flesh from a man who is already, for all intents and purposes, paid a huge price. He has already lost pretty much everything. Do they expect to find bars of gold hidden in some Swiss bank account?
Or do they merely disagree that so much of the Anglican Catholic Church of Australia assets were diverted to support the primacy of the Traditional Anglican Communion and all the travel and other expenses related to unity with the Catholic Church? What about the $300,000 the rest of the TAC owes the ACCA?
Of course those remaining in the new TAC have turned their back on unity, so to them spending money on the pursuit of unity looks like fraud perhaps. Also, in the new TAC, who determines doctrine? Is it still the bishops? Or has it gone to a democratic, congregationalist model? What gives a bishop the right to sack a priest? If a priest starts making up doctrine on his own, or acting in a disloyal, disobedient fashion, should they not have their licenses removed?
All the news about the new TAC is about their prosecution of Hepworth. They come across to me like the Obama administration blaming George Bush for everything that is going wrong with the economy but proposing no vision of their own for the future except more of the same failed policies. Talk in comments sections about kangaroo courts should cut them to the quick. “Hepworth bad; we’re good” is not going to cut it as an overall messaging strategy. I liked it much better when we were hearing from Bishop Michael Gill the need to focus on evangelizing. That was a sweet message. So preferable! Can they not evangelize and rise above kicking Hepworth into the dust or even perhaps precipitating his death by his own hand? Do you know that 46 of the 104 victims of Fr. Ron Pickering have committed suicide? Is this what they want? Pickering was one of the priests who abused Hepworth.
My point about the public relations exercise is this: the new TAC risks coming across to the casual observer as a vindictive lot, whining about sour grapes vis a vis unity with Rome and angrily claiming they were duped and seeking to recoup all the money that was spent on the unity project.
What is sad is that there no longer seems to be a stepping stone out there in the Continuing Anglican world for those who are yearning for unity but are not quite ready in good conscience to cross the Tiber either alone or with a group. The unity talks with Rome gave the TAC credibility as a serious organization. Now what distinguishes it from any other group of splintered off groups led by vagante bishops? Or from congregationalists?
May the new TAC cut their losses, rebuild and move on. May they find a vision for Anglo-Catholicism that keeps Anglican patrimony alive in countries where there is no ordinariate on offer.