Father Mark White Washington
After being shunned at the doorsteps of a Richmond bishop and now also at the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States in Washington, D.C., Father Mark White of Martinsville and his supporters intend to take their demands for justice to the Vatican in Rome.
You probably know the story by now. Father White was the priest serving St. Joseph Catholic Church in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount. Late last year Richmond Bishop Barry Knestout told White to remove a popular blog he had created and used to occasionally criticize the church hierarchy’s handling of the sex abuse scandal within the church.
White initially complied with Knestout’s demand, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit, he asked for permission to resume his blog as a means to remain in contact with his parishioners.
Receiving no answer, White resumed blogging, and Knestout responded by removing White as priest of the two local parishes and reassigning him to service in the prisons of southwest Virginia.
White took issue with the Knestout’s perceived authority concerning his right to express his opinion through a blog and submitted a formal request for the Vatican to settle the dispute.
Knestout responded by stripping White of his priestly duties.
The Vatican dismissed White’s request on the technicality of not naming his lawyer representing him in the matter as his “procurator.”