Report on WUSA9 in Washington, D.C.


After WUSA aired the story, the Diocese of Richmond made a comment. Mr. Leshan dutifully included the diocese’s statement in the on-line, written version of the report:

“As of this writing, this is not just about Fr. Mark’s blog,” Deborah Cox, a spokeswoman for the Richmond Diocese, said. “Fr. Mark continues to refuse to accept the assignment and the new job he has been given.”

I asked Ms. Cox to correct this statement, because it mis-characterizes the situation. As of this writing, to the best of my knowledge, she has not done so.

I very much want to work as a priest. I appealed my removal as pastor in Rocky Mount-Martinsville to the Holy See. Last month, the Congregation for the Clergy dismissed my appeal on a questionable technicality.

In the meantime, Bishop Knestout suspended my priestly faculties–that is, my authorization to minister as one of his priests. I cannot minister in any assignment without that authorization.

Bishop Knestout wrote to me last month to inform me that I cannot have my priestly faculties back while I still have a blog. Bishop Knestout himself made it all about this blog.

I pointed out to him then that his stipulation violates both canon law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to no avail.

If the bishop had not imposed his stipulation, I would have proceeded to my new assignment last month, as instructed by the Congregation for the Clergy. I would continue to fight to return to Rocky Mount-Martinsville, to be sure. But I would do so while working as diocesan prison chaplain, as assigned.

I cannot do this, however, because Bishop Knestout has not lifted my suspension.

I just want to be clear about this, because, at least to me, it’s the difference between being an obedient priest and a disobedient one. Refusing to submit to silencing does not violate priestly obedience. But refusing a legitimate assignment does.

Ms. Cox did me wrong in the way she characterized the situation. She owes me, and the readers of Mr. Leshan’s story, a correction.

6 thoughts on “Report on WUSA9 in Washington, D.C.

  1. I’ll be there in spirit, Father Mark. Prayers for all who will be traveling Friday.

  2. Deborah Cox lied to WUSA about Mark’s situation. Her statement is unforgivable.

  3. Unfortunately this abuse of power is not uncommon in the Church nor in the neighboring dioceses (Washington DC, Diocese Wheeling Charleston). McCarrick left his mark on those and many others with the people he had placed in positions of power yet today. Thanks be to God for having the fortitude to stand up to this injustice and answering the call Our Lord gave you. You are a Gift to God’s people.

  4. That’s your diocese for you Father Mark! They will continue to lie, be silent and cover up! To recent case of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest in Newport news who used to be a university chaplain. Unbelievable!

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