Vatican hands down its word in case of Father Mark White

Martinsville Bulletin

June 27, 2020

By Bill Wyatt

[Includes a video of a parish prayer and tribute to Fr. Mark White.]

At issue is long-running dispute with the Bishop of Richmond, and a missing word may have allowed the appeal to run out of time.

The word has come down from the Vatican in an appeal by the suspended Catholic Priest Father Mark White of a decision by the Bishop of Richmond to strip him of his pastoral duties, and that word also means White’s appeal likely has run out of time.

Those may sound like cliches, but, according to a letter dated June 2 from Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy Beniamino Stella, they appear literally true and mean White’s appeal never was considered and now probably won’t be.

“Unfortunately, the petition as presented is unable to be accepted, inasmuch as you have received from this cleric a mandate to act only as an Advocate and canonical consultant,” Stella wrote to White’s canon lawyer, Michael Podhajsky.

The letter explains the appeal only will be accepted if it comes from White or someone he designates as a “procurator.”

White updated the parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount and St. Joseph in Martinsville with the news.

“The cardinal [Stella] noted that my lawyer’s first submission in the case omitted one word, a word I myself had never heard before: ‘procurator,’” White wrote in his blog. “According to the Cardinal, that omission of one word has nullified our entire case.

“I think it’s safe to say someone invented the term ‘technicality’ for situations just like this.”

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