February 18

Accession Day: Primate speaks

Every constitution is undergirded by beliefs, pillars of the constitution which are invisible, Archbishop John Hepworth told a booked out luncheon called to mark the 58th anniversary of the Accession of The Queen on 6 February, 1952.

The constitution is only safe, His Grace observed, if its ultimate custodian is born to handle it. This custodianship is not about power; it is  a burden which passes on death.  It must be accepted, else there will be a crisis.

In a powerful address delivered in the Strangers' Room in Parliament House, Sydney, His Grace spoke of the importance of the Crown in the constitutional system, and the undergirding which supports this and indeed, is essential to this.

The Archbishop has long been a major defender of the Crown, being elected in 1998 as an ACM  delegate from South Australia to the Constitutional Convention. He played a significant role there. Christopher Pearson writing in in The Weekend Australian (16-17  May 2009)  said that “(Bishop now Archbishop) John Hepworth, now the global primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, was a delegate whose wit commanded attention in even the most rancorous debates.”

Supporters of ACM come from many faiths. Grace is said at ACM functions by clergy from different denominations. Readers may be interested to know that the Traditional Anglican Communion, which is separate from the Anglican Communion, consists of 15 member churches across the world.  There are two in Australia, The Anglican Catholic Church of Australia and the mainly indigenous The Church of Torres Strait.

In 2007, their College of Bishops sought communion with Rome. This resulted in 2009 in The Pope issuing an Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus.

Videos of an interview given just before the lunch, and the opening of his address follow.

A recording of Archbishop Hepworth’s speech can  be heard here.    






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