An Australian archbishop leading a breakaway Anglican faction that wants to reunite with Rome has revealed that he fled the Catholic priesthood after experiencing systematic sexual abuse over more than a decade.
Archbishop John Hepworth, the primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, a 400,000-member Anglican breakaway group seeking reconciliation with the Vatican, broke decades of silence after securing an apology from the Catholic church and an offer of $75,000 compensation.
The revelation of his private pain, known until today only to family, a few close friends and senior church leaders, adds an extraordinary personal twist to the creation of Anglican ordinariates that have opened the way for the largest mass defection to the Catholic Church since the Reformation.
Despite what he suffered over a 12-year period from 1960 at the hands of two priests and a fellow seminary student who went on to be ordained, Archbishop Hepworth said he was determined to continue his mission to bring the churches together. To read more, click here.
This revelation raises serious questions about Hepworth's motives for encouraging clergy and congregations of the Traditional Anglican Church to Roman Catholicism. A parallel may be seen between Hepworth and an abused wife who seperates from her abusive husband only to return to him, bringing her children with her, and subjecting them as well as herself to further abuse. When asked why she went back to the husband knowing how abusive he is, her response is that she loves him. In such cases the wife's emotional attachment to the husband colors her judgment and keeps her from protecting her children and herself from his mistreatment.