Knestout Threatens Defrock White
Rev. Mark White and his supporters are coming to D.C. to appeal to the Pope’s representative for help.
WASHINGTON — A Catholic priest in southwest Virginia is refusing to be silenced.
Father Mark White said his bishop has ordered him to stop writing about clergy child sexual abuse and the actions of Catholic leaders.
The Bishop of Richmond, Barry Knestout, has relieved White of his priestly duties, kicked him out of his parish house, and threatened to have him defrocked, White said.
But Rev. White and his supporters are coming to Washington Friday to appeal to the Vatican Embassy for support.
“As of this writing, this is not just about Fr. Mark’s blog,” Deborah Cox, a spokeswoman for the Richmond Diocese, said. “Fr. Mark continues to refuse to accept the assignment and the new job he has been given.”
In a letter published in the Martinsville Bulletin in March, Bishop Knestout wrote: “Numerous efforts urging Father White to refrain from inflammatory comments or ‘posting’ on his blog have resulted in his attempt to publicly ridicule or embarrass his bishop.”
The bishop has reassigned White to work in Virginia prisons, but White has yet to accept that reassignment from the parishes of St. Joseph in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount.
White was ordained in 2003 by former Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. He said his faith was shaken in 2018 when McCarrick was accused by multiple boys and seminarians of child sexual abuse.
“The danger that he posed to young people, to teenagers and young men, had become pretty obvious by the 80s,” White said. “And instead of taking action, the whole thing was covered up, over and over again.”
Father White blogged and spoke to parishioners about the crisis.