It 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.
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”
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.
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:
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…).