John Hepworth

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The Right Reverend
John Hepworth
Former Primate
Church Traditional Anglican Communion
In office 2003–2012
Predecessor Louis Falk
Successor Samuel Prakash
Ordination 1968
Consecration 1996
Personal details
Born Adelaide, South Australia

John Anthony Hepworth (born 1944) is an Australian bishop. He was the ordinary of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia and the archbishop and primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, an international body of continuing Anglican churches, from 2003 to 2012.[1]


Hepworth began his seminary studies in 1960 at St Francis Xavier Seminary in Adelaide. In 1968 he was ordained to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church for the Archdiocese of Adelaide. In 1972 he moved to Britain. After returning to Australia in 1976 he was received into the Anglican Church of Australia as a priest. From 1976 to 1977 he had permission to officiate in the Anglican Diocese of Ballarat. From 1977 to 1978 he was the assistant priest in the Colac parish and, from 1978 to 1980, was the rector of the South Ballarat parish based in Sebastopol.[2]

In 1992 Hepworth joined the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia (ACCA). On 29 June 1996 he was consecrated as a bishop, together with Robert John Friend, in the Pro-Cathedral of the Resurrection, Brisbane, by bishops Albert N. Haley (then diocesan bishop of the ACCA), Robert C. Crawley (Anglican Catholic Church of Canada), Wellborn Hudson (Anglican Church in America) and John Hazlewood (retired Bishop of Ballarat in the Anglican Church of Australia). Hepworth served as an assistant bishop until April 1998 when Bishop Friend (who had succeeded Haley as diocesan) resigned. From then until November 1999, Hepworth acted as bishop administrator. At the National Synod of the ACCA held 25–29 November 1999 he was elected as the new diocesan bishop. In 2002 he was elected Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) in succession to Louis Falk.

Hepworth has been involved in a process to create an Australian ordinariate for former Anglicans in the Roman Catholic Church. However, in March 2012, this was rejected by a meeting of TAC bishops who also voted to accept Hepworth's already announced resignation as primate with immediate effect.[3]

Hepworth has a degree in political science and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Adelaide in 1982 with a thesis about Catholic Action entitled "The Movement Revisited: A South Australian Perspective". For five years he was a lecturer in politics at the Northern Territory University before becoming co-ordinator of international studies at the University of South Australia.[4] In 1998 he was elected to the Australian Constitutional Convention as a member of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.[5] He formerly chaired the Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Committee in South Australia.[6]

Hepworth is heard regularly on Adelaide's 5AA radio station where he acts as a political commentator on the conservative Leon Byner Show. He has been married twice and has three children.[7]

Hepworth says that he was a victim of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Australia during the 1960s and 1970s. He has alleged that he was raped on numerous occasions by three priests during his seminary studies[8] and that the Catholic Church had failed to follow due process.[9]


  1. ^ "For Immediate Release" (PDF). Johannesburg, South Africa: The Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops. 1 March 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 April 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012. The College of Bishops voted unanimously to accept the resignation of John Hepworth as TAC Primate by resolution that states: “it is resolved that he cease to hold the office of Primate immediately.” Archbishop John Hepworth vacates the Office he has held since 2003, along with the individual appointments which are the prerogatives of that Office. 
  2. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory (1980–1982): p457.
  3. ^ TAC votes out Archbishop Hepworth, rejects union with Catholic Church Archived 6 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Peter Gleeson, "The Head of his Church", Gold coast Bulletin, 5 July 2003.
  5. ^ Gabrielle Chan, "No stones cast as clerics strike deal", The Australian, 14 February 1998.
  6. ^ "Bishop to speak on human rights", Adelaide Advertiser, 7 December 1998.
  7. ^ Ed West, "Pope wants personal prelature for ex-Anglicans", The Catholic Herald, 6 February 2009. Archived 6 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "One man's life, and how the church he loved let him down", by Martin Daly, The Age, 17 September 2011.
  9. ^ "St Ann's Secret". Four Corners. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 3 October 2011. The Adelaide Archdiocese of the Catholic Church has been on the receiving end of damaging headlines in recent weeks over allegations from the former Catholic priest, now breakaway Anglican Archbishop John Hepworth, that it had failed to properly handle his claims that he had been repeatedly assaulted sexually as a Catholic seminarian decades ago. Archbishop Hepworth has, in particular, accused the Catholic Vicar-General in South Australia, Monsignor David Cappo failed to follow due process in the case, a claim Monsignor Cappo has rejected. 

External links[edit]

Religious titles
Preceded by
Louis Falk
Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion
Succeeded by
Samuel Prakash