ROCKY MOUNT (VA)
WSET-TV, ABC-13 [Lynchburg VA]
July 22, 2021
By Daniel Crews
ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (WSET) — It has now been a year since Father Mark White led his parishioners during Catholic Mass.
Bishop Barry Knestout removed Father White from overseeing parishes in Martinsville and Rocky Mount in 2020.
“A lot of us Catholics have lost respect for the upper level of leadership but I don’t think that makes us bad Catholics,” said Father White.
White’s battle with Bishop Knestout started with a blog.
He used it to shine a light on sex allegations against the Cardinal who ordained him.
Knestout ordered White to take down the blog.
“His position is that I have failed in respect towards the hierarchy of the church in what I had to say about the way the sex abuse has been handled,” said Father White.
When that didn’t happen, he was suspended from his priestly duties.
“We love the church and we’re seeing there are things that need to change as far as the way leadership handles things. That isn’t disrespectful, I don’t think, to try and communicate about that,” said Father White.
Still unable to lead Mass, White’s fight for his faith continues.
Bishop Knestout is now attempting to strip White of his position with the Catholic Church.
We asked Father White if he regrets putting the sexual misconduct allegations out on his blog, especially knowing that he may lose his position with the Catholic Church entirely.
“I can’t say I do, certainly I have made mistakes along the way. We all make mistakes and I am not above that myself. But I have been trying to communicate about this all along and have greater mutual understanding,” said Father White.
Father White’s future is now in the hands of The Vatican.
Hopeful, but not naïve, White is prepared for whatever decision is made.
“Trusting the Lord pretty much, hoping for better days. Keeping the fight up,” said Father White.
In an email, a spokesperson for Bishop Knestout said this is a personnel matter, one that is between a bishop and his priest.
Father White is not sure when a decision will come regarding his case.
In the meantime, he is working to get a book published, one he has written about his journey.