On 15 JUN, +Gregory Kerr-Wilson, bishop diocesan of the Diocese of Calgary and +Melissa Skelton, bishop diocesan of the Diocese of New Westminster, in the Anglican Church of Canada, offered a formal apology to the survivors of a priest’s abuse.
During a ministry that spanned 50 years, the Revd Goichi Gordon Nakayama sexually molested young Japanese Canadian boys in his cure. In 1994, Nakayama confessed his abuse to his daughter and to the archbishop of Calgary. The archbishop charged him with immorality and he never served as a priest again. He died in 1995.
Nakayama’s abuse and confession were not publicly revealed for 20 years. Clergy and lay leaders of Japanese Anglican congregations requested the national church not make the molestation public. However, in the last 18 months, Japanese church and community leaders asked the church to publicly reveal the events and requested a formal apology from the church.
“We deeply regret that Mr. Nakayama, while a priest, committed these acts of immoral sexual behaviour,” the apology stated. “…We deeply regret this Apology was not delivered to the Japanese Canadian Community at the time of Mr. Nakayama’s confession, the charge of immorality, and his subsequent resignation from the exercise of priestly ministry.”
The apology was received by 80 year old Mary Kitagawa, whose uncles were victims of the abuse. Mary stated that the apology was a good start, but expressed doubt that the elderly survivors would interpret it’s words well or that it would bring them much comfort, as they have suffered many years in silence.
Today the Anglican Church of Canada has zero tolerance regarding sexual abuse. Everyone in the church is required to report any suspected abuse of minors to authorities. These bishops and the national church are hoping that the apology will begin a healing process for those survivors still suffering in solitude and shame.
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Posted by David Allen