MASSES of reparation for the sin of sexual abuse are to be held in parish churches next month.
The initiative is the work of the co-hosts of the Young Tractarians podcast: the Curate of Wallsend, the Revd Endre Kormos, and a layman, Andrew Sabisky, who worships at St John’s, New Hinksey, and Pusey House.
A votive mass from the English Missal, Pro remissione peccatorum, will take place on 13 September at St Thomas the Martyr, Oxford, and at St Luke’s, Wallsend, in Newcastle. Churches in the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church in North America are also taking part, and all churches are invited to hold their own services.
In a statement explaining the initiative, Mr Kormos and Mr Sabisky referred to the ad clerum issued in June by the bishops of Blackburn diocese (News, 21 June), who wrote: “The Church is one body, so whilst we may not ourselves have been directly involved in the abuse of children and vulnerable adults, we are fellow members of the body with those who have, and so we are all called to repentance. . .
“There has been grave sin within the Church, and unless corporately we name, confess, and deal with that sin, our mission to the nation is fatally undermined.”
A statement from the Young Tractarians said that a “change of heart” was needed rather than “tokenistic action”, press statements, and “hiding behind insurers, policies, and paperwork. . .
“The aim of these services is not political activism — these Masses are not the appropriate platform for discussing who should resign,” they write. “Their purpose is to address the stain of sin that the Church continues to carry, and to plead for mercy at the throne of God the Father.
“If we as a Church are serious about repenting of the horrific sins of sexual abuse, and the sin of covering it up in various ways, then we have to address the spiritual side of these actions, and what these sins have incurred. . .
“We are hoping that organising these Masses would give an opportunity to people to take their part in addressing this terrible predicament that we as the one body of Christ find ourselves in, and to offer reparation on behalf of the abusers, and those who are complicit in these acts.
“It would be good to think that these Masses would, with time, contribute to wiping the slate clean, as much as that is possible — if not in the eyes of the world, then at least in the eyes of God.”
Donations will be given to the Survivors’ Trust, a charity that provides specialist support for survivors of rape, sexual violence, or childhood sexual abuse.