D. Richmond: Another cancelled priest

The internecine war on priests continues.

Fr. Mark White has been in the news before. He is a priest of the Diocese of Richmond. He wrote on his blog about the sex abuse crisis until the Bishop of Richmond told him to stop. He did. During COVID Theatre he started again. Now the bishop kicked him out of his parish and, directly after the announcement, changed the locks on the rectory.  The bishop is seeking to have him laicized.


Even with the caveats that there are two sides to these stories, this is awful.

At the bottom of the piece I link here find links to previous articles about Fr. White.

From WRIC:

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Virginia priest could be removed from the priesthood. He continued to blog about the Catholic Church sex abuse scandals even after the Catholic Diocese of Richmond Bishop ordered him to keep quiet.

8News first began digging into this story back in early 2020. Father Mark White at first obeyed an order to stop blogging. However, he restarted the online conversation once COVID hit and in-person church services halted. That has now prompted Bishop Barry Knestout to take their battle to Pope Francis.

The dispute heated up when in a surprise move, Bishop Knestout suddenly showed up at St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount and took over mass. Father Mark White was the pastor at the Church. He also served as Pastor at St. Joseph’s in Rocky Mount.

During the televised service Bishop Knestout told viewers, “Father White and I are at odds.”

In the video shared with 8News, you see Pastor White is forced to stand in the background.

“Father White claims that I injured him. I claimed earlier that he injured me,” the Bisphot [sic] said during the service.

Shortly after that mass, White was locked out of the churches, his apartments, and essentially kicked to the curb.

“Thanks be to God I had a parishioner that was able to provide me with a place to live,” White said.

Now the embattled priest could lose his collar.

Bishop Knestout told White he’s petitioned Pope Francis to have him formally removed from the clergy state. [Over reaction much?!?]

“It breaks my heart. I can’t see myself doing anything else,” White said.

Parishioners like Christy Hall are angry.

They changed the locks on his apartment with no warning, I mean this is just goofy, childish stuff,” she said. “It is as about as un-Catholic as you get.


When the one whom you ought to be able to rely on the most is the one who trashes you, it hurts all the more.

Men try to work things out.

This is the time God chose for us to be alive.  Not some other time and place, but here and now.   We are His team here on Earth and we are His war fighters.  The harder the fight, the greater the merit.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. PostCatholic says:

    I’ve known the bishop, and his brother Fr. Mark, when he was Fr. Knestout the priest-secretary to Cardinal Hickey. I know his kindness and patience first-hand. I’m confident there’s much, much more to this sad story.

  2. Vir Qui Timet Dominum says:

    Welcome to Clown World ??, where priests who post the truth online are laicized, and priests like Fr James Martin, who bend the truth every day, are praised by the Holy See

  3. JustaSinner says:

    When will the cans of whoop ass get opened? Thinking MANY CASES will be needed…

  4. michele421 says:

    Some cancelled priests had it coming, but it sounds like Fr. White was doing a really good thing. Another black eye for the Church.

  5. NB says:

    I don’t follow Father White (maybe I should have), but it didn’t take me 30 seconds of Googling Bishop Knestout to see the web he is part of. None of what I found surprises me.

    Bishop Barry Knestout was consecrated by then-Archbishop Donald Wuerl to be his auxiliary in DC.

    According to an article from the time from archbalt.org, Father Knestout “currently serves as the archdiocese’s moderator of the curia (chief of staff) and vicar for administration. He previously headed its Office of Youth Ministry and served as a priest secretary to the late Cardinal James A. Hickey and then to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, when each served as archbishop of Washington, in addition to serving as a parish priest in the years following his 1989 ordination.”

    So I’m guessing that His Excellency did not appreciate criticism of his former (and possibly current?) bosses and took action or was instructed to take action.

  6. Prayerful says:

    Given how Francis as Abp of Buenos Aires expended so much effort on saving Julio Cesar Grassi (including commissioning a multi-volume work attacking the victims and their evidence), plus other cases besides, Francis might be sympathetic to the bishop vexed by a priest blogging too much about child abuse.

  7. Chrisc says:

    So remind me how laicization works for one who has said mean tweets about his bishop?

  8. PostCatholic says:

    I’ll add that Bishop Knestout is one of the nine children of Deacon Tom Knestout, who n was Washington’s director of the permanent diaconate. I very much doubt, and find offensive to be honest, NB’s suggestion that Barry is thin-skinned when it comes to criticism of Wuerl and McCarrick. Also, Cardinal Hickey was a very, very different personality from his next two successors. The web he comes from is a really good family of really devoted Catholics.

    Give Knestout the benefit of the doubt. Unlike Rev. White, his side of the story hasn’t been told in the press. It’s my lived experience that these things are often much more complicated than the tales of one aggrieved party.

  9. Liz says:

    Oh dear God in heaven, please help our faithful priests! I can’t imagine the hell to pay for treating a priest like this. I am realizing, begrudgingly, that I really need to pray for these bishops and priests who do horrific things to other priests to convert because what they are doing is so evil. God have mercy. Fr. White was already on my list of priests to pray for but I will intensify my prayers for him.

  10. pbnelson says:

    I’m sorry, but how is it not criminal to change the locks on a man’s abode without his permission? How does a locksmith do that without getting sued? Renters have rights; landlords can’t simply change the locks without following a lawful eviction process; there is often a minimum 60 day timeline. How do those rights not also apply to priests (or any employees) who receive room and board as part of their compensation?

  11. PostCatholic says:

    Much employment law does not apply to bonafide religious employment. You guys usually like this when it means you can fire a gay teacher.

  12. Emilio says:

    The Archdiocese of Washington is my home diocese, and I am a former chancery employee. I got to know Fr. White when he was a seminarian and was assigned to my suburban parish for a summer. I also knew then-Father Knestout well, when he was priest-secretary to the saintly and last Catholic Archbishop of Washington, the late Cardinal Hickey. The key to understanding the situation between Knestout/White is to understand that the paths of both men began and had already crossed in the DC Archdiocese, and then both men wound up in the Richmond Diocese, each for different reasons. A much better way of saying that was that Fr. White had the incredible bad luck of having the former vicar general and auxiliary bishop (who didn’t like him already in his old Archdiocese), become his new Ordinary in the Diocese he managed to transfer to. Why was Fr. White disliked? He was thought of as “too traditional”… one of his first assignments was an über-rich, liberal suburban Maryland parish that complained about Fr. White wearing his cassock and birreta. It supposedly “weirded out” the parents of the parish school… or so they said. Knestout is a company man, a bureaucrat with no pastoral experience or backbone. He will change his stripes for whomever is in power, for whomever might promote him further. He will throw you under the bus, no questions asked, if you are a problem for him. Perhaps some of you will recall a sad episode where a faithful priest, on loan from a Russian Diocese, refused to give Communion to a lesbian woman who presented herself with her lover at her mother’s funeral (St John Neumann Church, Gaithersburg Maryland). Cardinal Wuerl mercilessly threw that priest under the bus, while apologizing to the mainstream Media. Knestout was his vicar general, and Wuerl had him do the dirty work of “cancelling” that priest. Many in the DC archdiocese will do the same, in order to climb. I didn’t know the incredible development that Knestout now wants White to be laicized. How outrageous. There are Richmond Diocese priests that have been spewing heresy from the pulpit for decades, but it’s Father White who has to be laicized? That confirms in my mind that Knestout knows that there is still ALOT of bad stuff that could still come out from McCarrick and Wuerl’s tenures, and is terrified of White…in addition to hating him. How ugly and how dark. My heart goes out to Father Mark White. Can laicization be undone by a future Pope?

  13. Kathleen10 says:

    1. No matter what situation you have, disrupting Holy Mass should be the last thing you do. No respect for Christ was shown by the bishop’s action, and zero consideration for the people present, who came to Mass and did not deserve a disturbing scene.
    2. Changing locks and leaving one of your priests without his belongings and lodging is cruel and vindictive, regardless of the situation. It’s petty, immature, and conduct unbefitting a bishop. Again, upsetting for the parishioners. Did he notice, or was he too busy tattling to Rome. Sounds ridiculous.
    3. It puts just another black eye on the church. These dramatic scenes don’t just stay in the Catholic arena, everybody ends up knowing about it. How appealing.
    We need to build up the Coalition for Cancelled Priests. We should be able to get to a point where a cancelled priest gets some tangible support. Our faithful priests are so important, where would we be without them? Hey, we may all be “homeless” in one way or another. Tomorrow may be a day we get the announcement we don’t want, about SP. It’s the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Rome may think it’s a lovely day to provoke the faithful.

  14. PostCatholic says:

    Goodness, my town (I live in the catchment of that parish) is über-rich, and St Raphael’s under the late Rev. Bill Finch was a liberal bastion? Even though he remodeled that ugly A-frame to make it more traditional with a marble altar and pulled statues out of storage? I didn’t realize. Golly.

    If anyone would like to review Bp. Knestout’s side of the story, here’s a link where he sets out as much of the iceberg as he was willing to make public. I’ll refrain from judging the character of the parties to this affair, it’s not a good look.

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  16. Moro says:

    I have actually met Bp. Knestout, his brother Mark, and Fr. Mark White – all separately.

    Fr. White was a parochial vicar at my parish in Maryland (I no longer live there). It was his first assignment. He was very generous with his time in hearing confessions and an excellent confessor (considering he was newly ordained). Then one Sunday, he preached about Humanae Vitae. I believe it was the 25th anniversary. He did that two Sundays in a row and before the end of the week after the second Sunday, McCarrick had him shipped off to another parish. I remember it vividly. The pastor of that parish (himself a good man, now deceased) had a whole page bulletin insert answering every question about Fr. White’s transfer, including a denial that he was transferred for his sermon. He even said something like: “What Fr. White said was Catholic teaching.” But anyone who isn’t completely gullible knew the pastor was basically forced to put that lie in there lest McCarrick & Co. do something to him.

    Is there more to the story? No doubt. But I have a hard time imagining that Fr. White did something worthy of lacization or even just this kind of treatment by his bishop.

  17. Moro says:

    @Emilio – I can more or less confirm everything you said. I do remember Fr. White in cassock, but not biretta (doesn’t mean he didn’t). He also told the full story about the Ugandan martyrs and how they refused to submit to the King’s demand for sodomy, not the whitewashed version you often get explained to you on the feast day. I don’t remember anyone saying they were weirded out or even hearing rumors, but the Humanae Vitae sermon definitely blew things up.

    And yes, there was the case of Fr. Guarnizo (sp?) from Russia at another nearby parish. He struck me as a bit of an oddball, but he did nothing wrong in the communion case and was unjustly thrown under the bus by Knestout, Wuerl, etc.

  18. Barnacle says:

    ‘Bisphot!!’ (Is this Latin/Greek for … something…. TwoFaced, maybe?) I hope in spite of everything poor Fr White has a little giggle at that…

  19. dallenl says:

    I do not know either the bishop nor the pastor but as a retired Human Resources Manager with over three decades on the job, I do know that Bishop K. handled the matter most inappropriately. Although we are a hierarchical Church, we expect our leaders to follow procedure and propriety. This was obviously not done. It appears the bishop has some issues of his own that he needs to address. He is apparently quite full of himself.

  20. Mr. Graves says:

    ‘Bisphot!!’ (Is this Latin/Greek for … something….”

    In the Middle Ages, a bishphot was the official diocesan locksmith.

  21. Emilio says:

    @Moro @PostCatholic I guess there are a few of us here privileged to have called Montgomery Co. Maryland home. I see no problem then to say that the parish I refer to is St. Elizabeth (Montrose Rd). The specific complaint also mentioning his use of his biretta was confirmed by a cousin whose girls attended that parish school… when she herself called him “weird” for it. I recriminated her, told her he was a faithful priest and asked her to have nothing to do with any attempt to persecute him there. The irony is that Mark White is “traditional” in the context of the Novus Ordo, and not particularly the TLM even. But in DC, this used to earn you derision under McCarrick and Wuerl.

    Also, it pained me to write so honestly and bluntly about +Knestout: he was always very kind to me personally, but I watched how ambition and the clerical “clics” that often surround the hierarchy in our Church-changed him, and not for the good. Add the demonic presence of McCarrick (then Wuerl) to his particular promotion, and things get ugly. I have seen good people, clergy and laity alike, in our home Archdiocese treated very cruelly like Mark White was. Knestout and others high up in the chancery already disliked him in DC, and this dislike simply continued and got out of control in Richmond. He has it out for him, And if it takes hard talk and bluntness from some of us to help root out sin and corruption, then so be it. McCarrick’s cronies are littered all over the DC Archdiocese still, up and down the East Coast, and the Holy See. I’m sick that this pervert’s tentacles are so long, and that they are ruining the life of another innocent person like Mark White’s.

  22. PostCatholic says:

    Fair enough. I say he was Cardinal Hickey’s crony, in that chancery position before Uncle Ted, and that’s quite a different thing.

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