Richmond Catholic Officials Remove Priest Who Ran Critical Blog
In a surreal move, Catholic officials have removed from ministry a pastor who has been critical of the Church’s response to cases of child sexual abuse. During the current pandemic, it seems particularly important to us that priests are able to reach out to their parishioners using social media.
It is also ironic that Diocesan leaders moved so quickly to remove Rev. Mark White from service, when one of his criticisms was the slow speed at which Catholic officials removed those who had been accused of abuse. Apparently, the Diocese is more concerned about criticisms than they are about children and vulnerable adults being placed at risk of harm.
This situation is another sad example of the ways in which Catholic officials pivot from transparency towards control. It would have been something quite special if Diocesan leaders in Richmond allowed Rev. White to continue running his blog, accepted his criticisms, and took steps to address and resolve those criticisms. Instead, Bishop Barry Knestout chose to silence Rev. White.
We stand with Rev. White and all other priests of integrity who have worked to change the Catholic Church rather than simply fall in line and wave away the history of abuse and cover-up. We hope that he continues to speak truth to power in his next assignment, and we hope that his parishioners will stand up and speak up on his behalf and demand that Bishop Knestout restore Rev. White to his position immediately.
CONTACT: Becky Ianni, SNAP Virginia Leader (firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-801-6044), Dottie Klammer, SNAP Richmond Leader (email@example.com, 804-347-9974), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)