Peter Slipper- Bishop of Australia?

 

1It may have escaped your attention that the disgraced former Federal Speaker of the House, Peter Slipper, has been made ‘Bishop of Australia’.

While Peter Slipper has maintained a public presence since his departure from politics, he kept his appointment as a Bishop for the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAB) fairly low key. The question has to be asked: why is Slipper in the Episcopal closet?

Know as “Slippery Pete” even before he entered politics, in 2012 Peter Slipper stood down from parliament over allegations of misappropriation of travel expenses, as well as sexual harassment claims by a staff member including texts sent to him about sexual matters  and what was termed “‘vile anatomical references” referring to women’s private parts (while slipper was an Anglican priest). During the court cases in 2014 Slipper reported he tried to commit suicide twice, and his psychiatrist, Chris Martin, submitted evidence in the case whether fraud charges against Mr Slipper should be dropped on mental health grounds.

Religious Career

While in Parliament Slipper was appointed Chancellor of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), and later secretly ordained a priest in the Anglican Catholic Church in Australian (ACCA) by the leader of both organisations at the time, Archbishop John Hepworth. According to a highranking ACCA insider it was never announced Slipper was in training to be a priest, and Hepworth did not inform his fellow TAC clergy of the ordination. Slipper held no theological qualifications, although Hepworth claimed in a media interview that he “oversaw Peter in an intensive theological reading time for several years” before his ordination. Hepworth also claimed when he sought to bring the TAC in union with Rome that organisation had 400,000 members- a greatly inflated number. Following the discussions some in the TAC accused Hepworth of telling them what they wanted to hear, with the ACCA later accusing him of financial misappropriation.

Sections of the ACCA entered into union with the Catholic Church forming the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (OLSC), and Slipper became the Chancellor for another TAC province, the Church of the Torres Strait (CTS).

The bishop for the CTS, Tolowa Nona, was one of the TAC bishops that announced their desire to enter into union with the Catholic Church in 2007, and after the breakdown of the TAC talks, applied to the Vatican for the CTS to be its own Ordinariate. A deal was struck that the CTS would enter as a self governing territory of OLSC as a step towards becoming its own Ordinariate, and in 2014  it was publicly announced that Pope Francis had signed off on the deal and for arrangements to proceed.

In January 2016 as its bishop, Tolowa Nona formally accepted the arrangement for the CTS to enter into OLSC. Soon after this, Peter Slipper, the Chancellor and priest for the CTS, inquired about the possibility of ordination as a Catholic priest with OLSC, and was told it could not happen in an email sent April 1st 2016.

Slipper has on his Facebook page with this photo:

St George’s Day 2016- a Street Mass in Rio de Janeiro with Dom Josivaldo Pereira de Oliveira, President of the Episcopal Council and Fr Cláudio Alencar

2

As the patron saint of Rio De Janeiro, St Georges Day is a big event and is celebrated on the 23rd of April: meaning 3 weeks after being told there was no possibility of him being a priest for in Catholic Church, Slipper is in Brazil meeting with the head of ICAB. Towards the end of 2016 Tolowa Nona is contacted asking for a progress report as there had been no communication since January, and then Nona informs OLSC that he is pulling out of the agreement to enter into the Catholic Church which was almost a decade in the making. Now in 2018 that ICAB lists its dioceses on its website Peter Slipper appears as Bishop of Australia (although name misspelled as “Slepper”), with head of the CTS, Tolowa Nona, appearing for the Torres Straits.

On Slippers Facebook page, his intro section has both Bishop of ICAB-Australia and that he is both the Chancellor and Vicar General (i.e. Tolowa Nona’s right hand man) of the CTS.

Sources from the Torres Strait suggest confusion among CTS members over what ‘Catholic Church’ they entered into. One parish of the CTS on Dauan Island ended up joining the Catholic Church as part of the OLSC, allegedly after Slipper visited them about the new arrangement, and after their discussion were not happy with the answers.

Interestingly the Traditional Anglican Communion still lists CTS as a member.

3

Slipper extensively traveled throughout the Torres Strait Islands for his church ministry, and as a former member of parliament Slipper was entitled to a “Life Gold Pass” entitling him to free travel in Australia funded by the taxpayer, even running up $15,000 in a six month period. It was disclosed when the Life Gold Pass was scrapped in 2017, since 2014 Slipper had claimed more than $43,000 for business-class domestic flights, which he defended in the statement:

Much of my travel was to help AFP investigation into unauthorised disclosure of my official diary when Speaker.

It is unknown how much Gold Pass travel was for Slippers ministry for ICAB and the CTS.

Despite Slipper’s enthusiastic Facebook comments:

Slipper Orders

Other than assisting the CTS, there is no evidence Slipper has any following in Australia especially as ICAB’s former Australian branch, headed by Neville Anderson of Ballarat, broke with ICAB to join the Catholic Church OF England and Wales (CCEW) led by James Atkinson-Wake, former ICAB-UK head. In 2012 under the name David Bell he publicly sought union talks with the Vatican claiming his Society of Pope Leo XIII had 8.5 million followers worldwide. After the Vatican in 2012 declared ICAB and the Society of Pope Leo XIII in schism with the Catholic Church (and therefore excommunicated), “David Bell” changed his name back to James Atkinson-Wake and now heads the CCEW. Although ICAB and CCEW claim to be Catholic Traditionalists, some of the Australian “bishops” that were apart of bothgroups are Freemasons and Occultists– things that incur automatic excommunication from the actual Catholic Church.

Without even so much as a website or Facebook page, ICAB’s “Diocese of Australia” can’t even be described as a paper tiger, let alone a church. Like Hepworth before, it seems Slipper is relying on his friend Tolowa Nona to let him ‘play’ at ministry.

In this writers humble opinion Peter Slipper has no business being in Church ministry on so many levels (including for reasons of the good of his mental health), and it seems he was the mastermind behind leading the Church of the Torres Strait into the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church. The whole thing looks super shady (again in my opinion) and raises a lot of questions- will we get any answers?

So what is Slipper up too? Only God knows (and I do not think God is happy about it…).

 

Update 2/10/2018: ground breaking new book on ICAB released in the English speaking world which challenges for the first time the claims made by ICAB and their spin off groups, including if they are “Catholic” at all, check out “God, Land & Freedom: The True Story of I.C.A.B.

17 thoughts on “Peter Slipper- Bishop of Australia?

  1. Pingback: James Atkinson-Wake: “who wears the Mitre of Satan” | Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog

  2. A lot of current members of the Ordinariates took John Hepworth quite seriously at one point. This story can only depress them. Why post it?

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  3. Pingback: The Wooden Leg | New Goliards

  4. A big thank-you to Simon for what must have been a huge amount of work behind these two posts, and what sad reading they make. I am particularly sad for the faithful of the Church of Torres Strait, and can only hope and pray that as time goes on they will realise that the ‘Catholic Church’ they think they’ve joined is not The Catholic Church, and like the community on Dauan Island return to their original plan of entering the Ordinariate. Hopefully posts like these will help them to make that decision. Regarding the larger matter, I have always believed that there is a place for what might be termed non-mainstream Catholic and Anglican churches – one has only to look at the calibre of clergy and laity from them that have come into the Catholic Church, and the gifts and talents that they have brought with them – but one cannot help but be at the very least concerned by those churches and clergy who feel the need to change their names and allegiances, often over and over again. Compare that with the serious and honest attempt by the four largest traditional Continuing Anglican churches in the USA to re-unite, and how much that will help their mission. I hope that when this comes to pass, it will lead to similar reunions across the world. Here in the UK Continuing Anglicanism is very small. The ACC is honest about its numbers with an open and attractive website. The TAC no longer has an active website, and anecdotally would appear to consist of a number of clergy but very few lay folk. I was in their cathedral in Lincoln earlier this year – it is simultaneously a very attractive museum of the Gilbertine priory which once occupied its site – and there were chairs for maybe 25 in the nave! It is even harder to find anything about the original group led until his death by Archbishop Hamlett, and similarly the Traditional Church of England. St Ninian’s, Whitby, has had a chequered history, and I’m not sure whether it is still in communion with James Atkinson-Wake, or is out on its own. When I last checked, its noticeboard simply said ‘Old Catholic’ – but that in itself covers such a wide grouping of tiny churches. I personally know a former Old Catholic bishop who is now a Roman Catholic priest, who literally woke up one morning and realised that as a bishop in a church with more clergy than laity he was simply fooling himself. How should we in the Ordinariates be reacting to these smaller Churches? Do we see them as ‘the enemy’? Are we encouraging dialogue? Are we helping those members who might be considering the Ordinariates?

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    • Very helpful comments here. I have the impression that a good number of Continuing clergy would like to be Roman Catholic but that they have so many irregularities in their orders and background that this is quite difficult. Does that sound accurate to you based on your experience?

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      • It is indeed accurate for some Continuing clergy, but it is also true that many are Anglican by conviction and belief, and that as Catholics we must respect their integrity and honestly held views.Archbishop Hepworth did no-one any favours all those years ago. For those who want to be Catholics, there will be a ‘right’ time for them, and we must do all we can to encourage and not put obstacles in their way. For those who and content as Anglicans, we celebrate their standing up for traditional Anglican faith.

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      • I AM ONE OF THOSE FORMER priests in the ACCA who still awaits Ordination within the Ordinariate. My call of the Holy Spirit to Catholic priesthood has NOT been granted. I note that my situation is NO DIFFERENT to others who have been so Ordained. My efforts to meet the call of the Holy Spirit in my life will NEVER CEASE . I seek your prayers for my calling, Thank you.

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    • As a PS to my earlier comment, does anyone ‘out there’ know if the Traditional Anglican Church in the UK is still planning on uniting with/becoming part of the Nordic Catholic Church. This was mentioned a while back, but all has gone very quiet.

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      • Jeff Hirst: The work is still ongoing in the UK regarding the Nordic Catholic Church (NCC) and the Traditional Anglican Communion in Britain (TACB). As you can imagine, it is a slow process and these things take time. Additionally, the College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) in 2015 signed an agreement to work together with the NCC.

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  5. I very rarely comment on this blog, though I am a fairly regular reader as a priest of the Anglican Catholic Church. I appreciate this comment, and I hope my own blog articles have been useful to try to understand issues so that something can be done by proper authorities.

    We are grateful that the four large Continuing Anglican churches you mention are not belittled or associated with the doings of men with serious personality disorders that only psychiatrists can understand. The Universal Communion of the Catholic Church remains an ideal for us all, but the historical obstacles in the way are insurmountable for many of us, and our period of history is hardly conducive to Christian mission. We can only support the movement for unity between the “honest” churches and strive to follow God’s will.

    You will find our bishops open to dialogue. I attended a conference in Oxford this year and met some of the prelates of the English Ordinariate. They were gracious and noble in their manner, and I think highly of them. I am not anyone’s “enemy” and I know my Bishop isn’t either even if some of the “stuffier” men in the Ordinariate and the Church of England like to denigrate us. The ACC is not “Ordinariate-bound” and has distinguished itself from the kind of “Anglo-Papalism” that motivated the journey of others to the Ordinariate. There are big problems in the Roman Catholic Church and no solution seems to be in sight like the Council of Trent and the Counter-Reformation in the 16th century – and that historical solution still causes problems today. No one can be triumphalistic.

    As with the corruption and the rule by clergy with disordered personalities, our only response is that of Fr Charles de Foucault: a life of prayer, holiness and silent witness.

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    • Thank-you, Father, for your kind words. As you will have witnessed in the ongoing discussions in the USA, a good dose of humility does far more good than any amount of point-scoring and table-thumping! Sadly, the Church is made up of fallible human beings!!! In a world where fewer and fewer care about the things of God, there is far more to unite us than divide.

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      • PETER SLIPPER was a guest in the public gallery today in the Australian Parliament in Canberra. The Speaker of the House formally recognized him from the chair as being there

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  6. Pingback: Peter Slipper Comments: He is more Catholic than the Pope | Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog

  7. In reading Father Chadwick’s comments, I am unable to decide if he means theological obstacles or organizational ones. If the latter, it would appear that differences can be addressable, even in the context of history. If the former, then he is probably correct that no solution seems in sight at this time. In any event, I appreciate his gracious manner.

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  8. Thank-you to Fr Glenn Galenkamp for taking the time to answer my query. I hope that the ongoing discussions produce much fruit.

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