PINELLAS PARK (FL)
Legal Examiner – Saunders and Walker Law Firm
April 23, 2020
By Joseph H. Saunders
Fr. Mark White, a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Richmond in Virginia is emerging as a man of courage and integrity within the ranks of the clergy. He has been willing to do what few clergy have been-that is speak truth to power.
In October 2008, he started a blog under his own name in an attempt to reach those who don’t go to church. However, the blog evolved and has delved into heretofore unchartered waters-a Catholic priest criticizing the bishops for mishandling the priest abuse crisis.
White closed his blog in November 2019, after his bishop ordered him to do so. But after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of Masses with the faithful, he decided to resume blogging, as a way to stay in communication with his parishioners. Bishop Barry C. Knestout, the head of the Diocese of Richmond and White’s immediate superior, didn’t care for the criticism and ordered the priest to stop writing negative pieces about the church.
But after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of Masses with the faithful, he decided to resume blogging, as a way to stay in communication with his parishioners.
His decision to challenge his bishop’s order, however, meant that on Monday he lost his job as pastor of two parishes in Martinsville and Rocky Mount: Bishop Barry C. Knestout sent a letter to White’s parishioners communicating the decision, and then the priest received an email himself.
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