Since the news is out, it is but honest to note that Abp Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion, as he himself said he would accept some years back (I recall his statement that if so, he would enjoy spending his retirement doing some fishing), has had reiterated to him by the Holy See that he, as a former Catholic priest, cannot be received into any Ordinariate for "groups of Anglicans" as a clergyman, but only as a layman. This was of course known from the publication of the Complementary Norms accompanying Anglicanorum cœtibus, but at the least wishful thinking on the part of unprejudiced observers and at the most some suggestion of special consideration for his case had given rise to the idea that he would be received back as a priest in good standing, even as head of an Ordinariate – which cannot happen now.
Of course, this whole issue is a great stumbling block and source of ongoing pain and confusion on a number of levels: on the one hand, given his marriages, the regularization of his marital situation according to Canon Law would only further complicate the restoration of his faculties as a priest; and given his leaving the Church, albeit because of his sufferings now well-known, Catholics, whether priests or laymen, may well have found any exception made for him somewhat hard to understand, to be frank; yet, given his awful subjection to sexual abuse as a seminarian and young priest, the investigation of which is still continuing, this news of a block to his return to active ministry as a Catholic priest must seem very cruel; further, given his strong advocacy for the reunion of the T.A.C. with Rome, it must seem very hard that, if not like Moses he may still enter the Promised Land, he can only do so not as leader but as a layman; worst, it appears that the Australian bishops have prematurely made this news public, which if true is an injustice on the face of it, though I read the news had leaked from another source (let him bear his fault) and so official release of the details was but a formality in any case.
It is a most unpleasant business all round. Whatever his faults, Hepworth has given great impetus to the great and good work of the reunion of Anglicans with the Holy See, and for that he deserves thanks and sympathy in his troubles. Please pray for him. Pray too that all this does not dissuade souls from taking the path of Unity.