The Publisher is Taking Pre-Orders for My Book

Ordained by a Predator: Becoming a Priest in the Middle of a Criminal Conspiracy will ship in November.

It will make a lovely Christmas gift 🙂

They interviewed me about it via e-mail and on camera. Part of the video is in the second tweet below.

Why I Love St. Thomas Aquinas So Much

St Thomas Seat of Wisdom

Any honest person has to laugh at him- or herself when making any attempt to speak about Almighty God.

How can we little piles of mucus and lard speak of Him? How can we even presume to use the word “Him” about Him?

God transcends us, transcends our minds and our puny words. He transcends the entire universe. He transcends everything we can even remotely conceive; He transcends it all by an infinite degree of magnitude. After all, God is infinite. And if we think we know what infinite means, we are even bigger idiots than we look like.

The words “magnitude,” or “universe,” or “transcends:” these are cheap plastic tiddly-winks, in this context. Do we little molehill-scamperers dare to say something about Almighty God? And imagine that our mumblings connect with The Reality? Please. Honest human beings smile at the foolish presumption of any such enterprise.

St. Thomas unswervingly endured this unknowability of his subject matter. Aquinas merits the title theologian–as opposed to ecclesiastical politician–precisely because he brought to every question he ever considered this fundamental insight: We cannot know God in Himself, except by believing in the One we do not know.

“God” is a word. “God” is not God. Our minds abound with ideas. None of them are God. Beautiful things fill the world, beautiful things that God has fathered, or grandfathered through us. None of these beauties are God.

We ourselves, small as we are, are in fact utter marvels. Our minds encompass vast spiritual realities. We understand things easily–things that all other bodily creatures regard as sublime mysteries. (Like where the dog food comes from.)

But none of the things we understand are God. Our capacious minds are not God. Not even remotely close to God. Everything that we understand lies at an infinite distance from God.

St. Thomas kept this fact in mind. Always. Somehow he managed never to get distracted from it, even by his own intelligence (an intelligence which, from our point-of-view, is quasi-divine.)

St. Thomas certainly would have lived a life of near-total silence, quietly marveling at the incomprehensible grandeur of God, were it not for this: The God we cannot know by our own devices, has, by His own devices, made Himself known to us somewhat.

the_holy_trinity

Our Christian act of faith is not simply in “God,” after all. We believe in the Father of Jesus, and Jesus, and the Spirit of Jesus. We believe that Jesus, certainly human, is also God. We believe that God made Himself one of us, so that we could, in our own way, know Him. And hope in Him, follow Him, love Him. And ultimately reach Him.

So, laugh as we might at the presumption of uttering human blather about Almighty God, we cannot simply say: “Words are useless when it comes to connecting with God.” No. That is not true.

To the contrary, we have nothing more precious than words, when it comes to connecting with God. (And with each other, too.) In Christ, God connected Himself with us Personally, and He spoke to us, using our puny words. We can, and we must, try to understand.

(This is why St. Thomas spent his life reading and writing, as opposed to quietly contemplating.)

And if we hope to understand what God Himself has said, then, for God’s sake, let’s clarify what we mean when we say words about Him. We owe Him that much, at least. Not to lather up our words about Him with our usual high quotient of b.s.

When I first started out as a Catholic thirty years ago, I admired a few priests especially. Two of those that I admired most made no secret of their disdain for St. Thomas’ writing. It’s tedious, they said.

St. Augustine’s sermons certainly pack more punch, and have more jokes in them. Plato’s dialogues have much more art and elegance than St. Thomas’ plodding quaestiones. Even Aristotle’s books move forward at a brisker pace.

There’s no denying it: St. Thomas preoccupies himself in his writing with the kind of deference to received authority that makes our independent, American souls rebel. We like controversies, but St. Thomas avoids them; or he seeks to resolve them, by making fine distinctions. Indeed, he makes controversy-settling distinctions with the kind of dexterity that would amaze us, if it weren’t so damn boring. Sifting out creek water for signs of gold deposits in the nearby hillside caves: that makes for an exciting party by comparison.

st-thomas-aq

The Summa is boring. No argument there. The question, though, is this:

What do you wind up with, after all the endless panning of theological creek water that St. Thomas does in his writings? Or, to use a couple other metaphors: What do you have in your wheelbarrow, after you have plowed through Thomas’ fussing over how St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom must both be right, even though they said things that appear contradictory at first glance? Or where exactly do you stand, after you have strolled across the Areopagus where St. Thomas considers pagan, Jewish, Greek Christian, and Muslim philosophers–all of whom make some serious sense, when they discuss Almighty God?

What do you have, and where do you find yourself, when you finish?

You find yourself in a country of peace and happiness: the land where your words about God are actually true. You have a theological vocabulary that you can use with confidence. Because the centrifuge of St. Thomas’ sublime mind has removed every ounce of nonsense which we humans generally use to lubricate our palaver.

For nineteen years, I had the ecclesiastical authority to preach. I received it the day I was ordained a transitional deacon, May 19, 2001. I lost the authority the day my bishop unjustly suspended me from ministry, May 6, 2020.

I preached for those two decades with fear and trembling before God, to be sure. But by the same token, I loved doing it. I found great peace, and profound happiness, doing it.

I spoke about the unknowable God to fellow homo sapiens. No doubt, I lathered my homilies with a fair amount of b.s., coming from my own inadequacy as a bearer of evangelical tidings. For that much, I am sorry and beg pardon of the Lord and my listeners. But I think I had peace preaching because: I had, and continue to have, confidence that I use a sound theological vocabulary.

My sermons were at least “based,” then, as they say on TikTok. Based on decades of daily reading the quaestiones of boring old St. Thomas Aquinas.

My Holy-Week Peace (Becoming Catholic, Part III)

Easter Vigil London Oratory

When the hand-held candles light up the church, with the Paschal Candle in front of the altar, at the beginning of the Easter Vigil: Christ triumphs, and we rejoice.

The ritual of our Church gives us the meaning of all the toil and pain of this difficult mortal life.

“We owe God a death” (Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2, Act III, scene 2). God gave us life, and everything. And we thoroughly messed the business up, we human malefactors. We owe Him the death He calls us to.

He, however, went ahead and paid off our debt, on the Holy Cross. So now we can live under the canopy of His sky and trees; His sun, moon, and rain–we can live under His shelter, as the heavenly Father’s hopeful children.

We can light up the dark church with little candles, knowing it’s all true, His Gospel. He paid the full debt of death, and came out of it alive.

Resurrection tapestry Vatican Museums

At the Vigil, a clergyman holds the big candle, the light of Christ. The flock all hold little candles. It’s the Church, Head (Jesus) and members. The Redeemer and the redeemed.

Praised be the Lord Jesus Christ: the night of Saturday, April 10, 1993, found me holding a little candle in Dahlgren Chapel in Washington, D.C.

We all owe God a death. I will gladly pay that debt anytime, whenever God wills. The heavenly grace that found me that Holy Saturday night, the grace of communion with the Church of Jesus Christ: that grace outweighs death more than a lion outweighs a flea.

I became a Catholic to become a priest. As a seminarian, I learned the Holy Week ceremonies, in close detail. Then I spent two decades of Holy Weeks celebrating those ceremonies.

mccarrickI think I mentioned before how I served as Cardinal-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s deacon on a couple occasions during the Lent and Holy Week of my tenth anniversary as a Catholic.

On the First Sunday of Lent, 2003, I sat next to McCarrick at the big ceremony where the parishes present their RCIA candidates to the Archbishop.

Before the final blessing, I had a moment to whisper to the Cardinal, “Ten years ago, that was me, Your Eminence.”

He loved it. He stood up, and before giving the blessing, told the whole crowd what I had just said. Then he encouraged the young, unmarried men there to consider the seminary.

I also deaconed for McCarrick at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week that year. That’s the annual Mass when all the clergy gathers at the cathedral. The priests renew our promises, and the bishop blesses the holy oils for use during the coming year. That includes the Chrism oil, which you need for Confirmations (anointing the forehead) and Ordinations (anointing the palms).

I stood next to Cardinal McCarrick, and helped hold his chasuble back from his wrist, as he consecrated the Chrism he would use a month later at our ordination as priests.

We’re all sinners. No one is perfect–not even priests, bishops, popes. There’s no such thing as a Church with 100%-holy clergy. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay for criminals to hide from justice behind the altar rail.

During Holy Week 2003, a lot of people knew that McCarrick was a criminal hiding from justice. People in New Jersey knew, and people in the Vatican knew.

The Vatican ambassador was at our Chrism Mass in 2003. He knew at that very moment that multiple victims of McCarrick’s abuses had tried to report what had happened up the clerical chain of command.

And yet here McCarrick was, presiding over the sacred ceremonies, as Cardinal-Archbishop of the national capital of the most-powerful country on earth. Some other men in miters at that Mass also knew some of the secrets. But they just stood there, consummate cowards, as a criminal pederast consecrated the Holy Chrism.

St Matthews Cathedral

Most of us there would not have tolerated the situation, had we known.

If the Vatican ambassador had somehow decided to throw the Code of Silence to the winds, and marched to the microphone, and declared to everyone in the cathedral everything he knew about what McCarrick had done; if such a miracle of truth-telling had occurred, I believe that:

We would have stood in silent shock for a moment. Then we would have applauded the whistleblower’s courage for speaking. Then we would have knelt down to pray for the patience to wait for the Lord to send us a different Archbishop, one that we could actually respect and trust.

At least that’s what I hope I would have done. Instead, though, the Code of Silence prevailed, as usual. The criminal remained hidden behind the altar rail for another 15 years.

Every year, the bishop invites his priests to the Chrism Mass at the cathedral. For three years running now, though, I have not been invited. I am not welcome.

Knestout Lori

The bishop here probably knew some of McCarrick’s secrets, at the Chrism Mass in 2003. (Monsignor Barry Knestout was right there, near McCarrick that day, just like me.)

If Bishop Knestout didn’t know anything that day, he certainly came to know some of it, in the subsequent few years. He dutifully kept the Code of Silence of the mitered mafia.

Now, two decades later, with some of the McCarrick truth known to the world, Knestout has left me outside, to fend for myself spiritually. Because I think the Code of Silence is bull–t.

I will participate in the Holy Week ceremonies this year, not as a priest celebrant, but in the back of a strange church, praying quietly among people who don’t know me.

I have peace about this.

Because: If you take all the wrongness of a criminal presiding over Holy Week as Cardinal Archbishop–if you take the whole invisible wound caused by that, and try to look at it, honestly and carefully, you see: we still owe the Lord a lot here.

We still owe Him for all the cruelty, the hypocrisy, and the cowardice, hidden behind the altar rail two decades ago.

I think of the good, honest souls with me at that Chrism Mass, 2003, in McCarrick’s cathedral. People who knew me then, and who know the truth as I know it now. I believe they think like this, about the situation as it now stands:

It’s a shame that Barry Knestout has thrown Mark White in the trash. It’s a shame, because Mark turned out to be a halfway-decent priest.

But it makes sense. It makes perfect sense that the tall, idealistic deacon then would wind up the unjustly ‘canceled’ priest now, considering all the hidden evil involved. It’s no surprise that the tall, bookish dude would find himself on the forgotten fringe of Holy Mother Church. Because it’s better to suffer in the back of the church than stand up in front and pretend everything is fine, when it isn’t.

If you missed the earlier posts, click for:

Becoming Catholic, Part I

Becoming Catholic Part II

2018-19: McCarrick, McWilliams, and Me

Father Robert McWilliams
Father Robert McWilliams of Cleveland

Can you have a relationship with God without the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, governed by Pope Francis, bishop of Rome, and the bishops in communion with him?

God gives us all existence and life. We exist and live at this moment only because He gives us our share of His pure, infinite existence and life. This establishes a relationship. So, to answer the question above: Yes, you can. But…

What about God revealing something about Himself, like a friend would? Giving us insight into Himself? Showing us His will, His plan–His loving plan? Saving us from our ignorance, and our evil, so that we could find true, everlasting happiness?

God sent His Son, to save us all, to enlighten us all, to give us grace from heaven. Jesus Christ saves and redeems the whole world. He founded His Church, giving us the Holy Eucharist of His Body and Blood, through the priesthood that continues from the Last Supper till now by the laying on of hands.

McCarrick ordinationTheodore McCarrick made us–my classmates, myself, all the couple hundred men he ordained–he made us ministers of the Body and Blood of God Incarnate. Can I have a relationship with God without the Church and the Holy Mass? Me, Mark White, Father Mark White–can I? No, I don’t believe so.

McCarrick’s criminal trial in Massachusetts will unfold in 2022. May it be God’s will, the world will hear for the first time, in open court, the testimony of one of McCarrick’s victims. A man who first appealed to Church authorities for help over 30 years ago. May justice be done, in that Massachusetts courthouse, next year.

We have come a long way since the initial public revelation of McCarrick’s crimes, back in the summer of 2018. Through 2018 and 2019, I experienced intense anger about the situation, and I wrote a great deal about it, with an angry edge.

In the spring of 2020, the bishop here intervened in the life of the parishes of which I was the pastor. By the grace of God, my anger turned into something else then. A clearer vision of why I find myself in the situation I find myself in.

I just learned this morning some details about the crimes of Father Robert McWilliams of the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio. (One of his victims and the victim’s mother both spoke bravely to a skilled reporter; read the article on the other end of the link only when prepared to deal with a vision of malice that will make you ill to contemplate.)

During the very period of time when I struggled through the throes of my initial anger over the McCarrick cover-up, Father McWilliams was in the process of sexually exploiting and spiritually torturing teens and pre-teens. Children of families that he had first gotten to know while still a seminarian. The families went to the police in October 2019. A judge has now sentenced McWilliams to life in prison.

McCarrick and James
Theodore McCarrick with the young James Grein

The McCarrick situation has progressed since 2019. Much of what I wrote in 2018 and 2019 no longer reflects the current state of affairs. Also, I believe that a careful, private study, on my part, of those old posts will help me understand the inner workings of my soul better. For that reason, the “Scandal Posts” tab above will provide access only back as far as February, 2020–at least for the time being.

Injustice moves us to anger. The emotion is not inherently evil. Only the foolishly proud, however, indulge themselves in believing that their anger is always just. Or even half the time. The perfectly pure-hearted Lord Jesus righeously drove the money-changers and pigeon-peddlers out of the Temple. But I know that my heart is far from perfectly pure. Calm reflection gets me a lot closer to the truth than righteous indignation does.

The battle, however, is only just beginning. If any of us could calmly say that McCarrick and McWilliams have nothing to do with each other; if any of us could scrutinize both situations and see nothing in common, other than incidental aspects–well, then I would have to bow my head and say, ‘My 2018-2019 anger was perhaps understandable, under the circumstances, but now it’s time to move on. After all, I didn’t know anything at all about McWilliams at the time, so it’s a pure coincidence that I vented some anger appropriate to that case, as it unfolded secretly in the hidden recesses of homeschool-Catholic-family Ohio. That’s just a fluke, that I wrote some jeremiads appropriate to the situation, as it happened.’

That would be what I would have to conclude, if we could all look at our beloved Catholic Church right now and say to ourselves, “Yes, the system is sound. This is a tragic, isolated case, just like McCarrick’s was.”

But can we say that?

Didn’t structural problems in the Church enable both these criminals? Problems that persist: unchecked clerical authority and secrecy, protecting the institution instead of souls, thinking about lawsuits instead of the Final Judgment?

One of the intentions I pray for at the holy altar, with the angels for company, is this: May I be spiritually ready to respond to God’s call, as the scandal involving the prelate who ordained me enters its next phase, in 2022. May I have the courage to examine myself honestly. May we all respond with generous love to God’s gift of being who He made us to be, here and now.

Canonical Process Update

Sermon_on_the_Mount_Fra_Angelico
Sermon on the Mount by Fra Angelico

This fresco has comforted and encouraged me for decades. Then I stepped into one of the small, dark cells in the friary of St. Mark’s last month, and there it was: the original. Painted for the benefit of the one novice who occupied that particular cell.

…Thank you for praying for a successful outcome at our meeting in Richmond on Friday.

I believe that heavenly grace moved us in a good direction. More to come about what happened, in a few days.

Happy October 31st Sunday of the Year today, and happy All Saints Day tomorrow.

My Mass on Tuesday will be for the repose of the souls of all our beloved dead, especially those who died from the long-term affects of sexual abuse by an authority figure.

All Saints Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico fresco, in Fiesole, outside Florence

Update on My Canonical Case

canon law codex canonici

I have received a notice from Bishop Knestout. He intends formally to charge me with two canonical “delicts,” that is, Church crimes. He tells me that he intends to pursue an “extrajudicial penal process.” (Not sure what that means.) He intends to “resolve my situation” by “invoking II Special Faculty.” (Don’t know what that means, either.)

The charges are: 1. disobedience 2. incitement.

According to the canon, disobedience = “not complying with the legitimate precepts or prohibitions of the Apostolic See or the ordinary [ie. bishop].”

St Francis of Assisi Rocky Mount
St. Francis of Assisi, Rocky Mount, Virginia

Precept. I believe that, in November 2019, Bishop Knestout signed a ‘precept’ concerning this blog. On the 21st of that month, the bishop surprised me after daily Mass and read at least part of that precept to me.

The situation that day was far from calm; I did not catch every word of what the bishop was reading to me. I didn’t worry about that, though, because I assumed that I would receive a written copy.

When bishop finished reading, however, he informed me that I would not receive a copy of the document. I was dumbfounded.

I am assuming that the Bishop intends to accuse me of disobeying this particular precept of November 2019, in this “penal process” now begun. I certainly hope that I will have the opportunity to hold the document in my own hands and read it with my own eyes, before I am put on trial for disobeying it. I hope that I will have some time to consider its contents carefully.

None of us are in the dark, though–at least I don’t believe we are–about the basic thrust of this mysterious document. The precept compels me, under pain of losing the office of pastor in Martinsville/Rocky Mount, to remove this blog from circulation entirely and to withdraw completely from publishing anything.

In March of last year (2020), my canon lawyer wrote to Bishop Knestout, pointing out that I needed more information from him in order to understand his problems with this blog and to make adjustments to satisfy him. We never received any response to my lawyer’s letter.

sacredheartcathedralrichmond

Then last summer my lawyer argued that the precept in question appears not to be in harmony with the teaching of the popes, when it comes to priests using the internet to communicate.

My lawyer made this distinction:

On the one hand, we acknowledge the prerogative the bishop has to guide me in what I would publish here. I have, in fact, repeatedly sought such guidance. On the other hand, the bishop’s demand that I cease entirely to communicate over the internet violates my basic freedom as a human being, and it contradicts the law and the teaching of the Church.

This past March, I wrote to Bishop Knestout. I re-iterated my offer to work with him–or with someone delegated by him, or with anyone approved by him–to try to solve the problems that this blog has caused in our relationship. I remain willing, as I have been all along, to correct any errors I have published here. I expressed my desire to serve the diocese in some priestly ministry that might be helpful.

St Peters

Bishop Knestout responded by urging me to seek laicization. Then he informed me that he himself had petitioned the Holy See to expel me from the clergy.

Apparently that petition was returned to Bishop Knestout at some point this summer, without any action taken on it in Rome. Perhaps because I have never been given due process and the opportunity to defend myself. Indeed, I have never been clear on what exactly the bishop believes I have done wrong, other than continuing to keep this weblog in existence.

To return to the charges that have now, at long last, been made a little more clear… The second one is brand new. I don’t have any record of the bishop ever accusing me of incitement, until last week.

According to the canon, the crime of incitement = “publicly stirring up hostilities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary [bishop] on account of some act of ecclesiastical power or ministry, or inciting subjects to disobey.”

I have no awareness whatsoever of ever having done this.

I have freely shared my own point-of-view, on topics that cause a lot of thoughts and emotions. But I believe that I have always left it to you, dear reader, to determine how you react to what I write.

For my part, I bear no ill will towards Pope Francis or Bishop Knestout. To the contrary, I pray for both of them with love every time I celebrate Holy Mass. I have at times been angry with both of them, but that anger cooled long ago.

It seems to me that expressing yourself in a proper forum about highly debatable matters of Church governance ≠ incitement to hatred or disobedience.

I do not think that I myself have wrongly disobeyed; I know for certain that I have never urged anyone to disobey the Church’s law or any particular ordinance of Bishop Knestout.

Two weeks from today my canon lawyer and I will meet with the bishop and Judicial Vicar to initiate this “extrajudicial process.” I pray for humility and honesty. Apparently the bishop will present evidence to support his charges; may I have a mind open to see the whole matter as clearly as possible.

If I have in fact done wrong in the ways that the bishop contends, I pledge myself to do whatever I can to repair the damage.

Today we keep the anniversary of St. Therese of Lisieux’s holy death. On the day of the meeting in Richmond, we will remember Therese’s spiritual mother, St. Theresa of Avila. Let’s pray to these two Doctors of the Church. May a miracle of peace and mutual understanding occur.

The Oil of the Wise Virgins

William_Blake_-_The_Parable_of_the_Wise_and_Foolish_Virgins

Today at Holy Mass, we read the Parable of the Ten Virgins. They await the bridegroom’s arrival, deep into the night. Then, behold, he comes! But only five of the young ladies have an extra flask of oil, to keep their torches burning.

Here’s a little compendium of links to the homilies I have given about the parable, over the years.

The Ten Virgins at Super Bowl XXII (2020)

The Wise Virgins’ Oil (2018)

The Wise Virgins’ Parable (2017)

The Mass is the Oil (2017) I remember giving this one in the basement social hall at St. Francis, while the workers were laying the new hardwood floor in the church above us.

Where is Time Headed (2012)

In Here, Lord? (2011)

Hamlet + Ten Virgins (2011)

If the necessary oil represents a completed manuscript of Ordained by a Predator, sent to a potential publisher, then yours truly is good. Thank you for praying. 🙂 It’s all in the Lord’s hands now.

 

 

Invitation to Get Together

transcript (with dates, times, and locations)

Seems like America is back. We can go places. We can get together. Praise God.

A year ago, the pandemic separated us, and the bishop here suspended me unjustly from ministry. He has prohibited me from celebrating the sacraments publicly, and now he is trying to have me kicked out of the priesthood entirely. I am trying to fight that.

I have obeyed the suspension order, and I will continue to obey it. I love the priesthood and the Catholic Church. I am no Protestant. I am no rebel.

But the bishop cannot prohibit me completely from trying to help the Church. Let’s get together again, and do something good.

I will host a series of talks given by survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic clergymen. These brave heroes will give us a vision for what our Church can be.

We will start this summer, with talks by Chris O’Leary, Mark Vath, and Becky Ianni. The first talks will take place here in Virginia–in Martinsville, Roanoke, Richmond, and Alexandria.

We’re calling ourselves “Our Church, our Problem.” The series of talks is called, “I Survived, and I Have a Vision.”

The first talks in the series…

Mr. Chris O’Leary in Martinsville: Sunday, June 27, 5pm at Grand Fiesta Venue, 6812 Greensboro Rd.

Mr. Chris O’Leary in Roanoke: Monday, June 28 at 6:30pm at the Jefferson Center

Mr. Mark Vath in Martinsville: Sunday, July 25 at 5pm at Grand Fiesta Venue

more info about talks in Richmond and NoVa to follow soon

Let’s get together again. I look forward to seeing you.

18th Anniversary

McCarrick ordination

Praised be the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eighteen years ago today, then-Cardinal Archbishop Theodore McCarrick ordained nine of us as priests, sacred ministers of the holy mysteries of Jesus Christ, chaste and loving.

At the ceremony, we all promised to respect and obey the bishop. Over the course of the ensuing years, McCarrick gave me my first three parish assignments. I gladly did his will.

But [PG-13] if he asked me to play with his penis, should I have obeyed?

The Cardinal was a criminal. For decades he abused his power as a priest, then as a bishop, to obtain cheap sexual gratification for himself.

In May of 2006, right after he gave me one of the happiest assignments I have ever had, McCarrick suddenly announced his retirement. He was evidently able-bodied and vigorous. Something weird was going on.

Turns out that the highest authorities in the Church were working behind the scenes to cover-up McCarrick’s crimes. My own current bishop, Barry Knestout, was apparently in-the-know about the cover-up.

It was an institutional deception piled on top of a criminal betrayal. When we learned the truth, over a decade later, many of us experienced intense anger and pain. I will spend the rest of my life trying to deal with the effects of this betrayal of my trust in Church leadership.

We priests do our best to obey. But we are also baptized and confirmed Catholic Christians, who have to prepare ourselves for judgment by God, just like everyone else.

We’re human beings. We’re not trained monkeys.

Last year, Bishop Knestout assigned me as prison chaplain for the diocese. I could not undertake the assignment because…

1. The pandemic has prevented prison ministry for the past year.

2. Bishop Knestout suspended my priestly faculties shortly after giving me the assignment.

A local businessman here recently offered to purchase a building for me to set up an independent church. “Father, people will come from all over!”

This kind, well-meaning Christian has the necessary money. But I do not have the will to do such a thing. I believe in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, governed by Pope Francis, and all the bishops in communion with him.

mlk birmingham jail cellI obey my suspension and celebrate Mass in the company of just the Lord, the angels, and the saints. Today my Mass will be for Theodore McCarrick, that he might get to heaven somehow. The pope kicked him out of the priesthood two years ago.

I wrote my bishop last month, asking him if we could try to find a compromise about this blog, so that I could undertake the assignment he gave me last year, before he suspended me.

He wrote back, insisting that I would never have an assignment. He urged me to ask the pope to remove me from Holy Orders. Then he quickly wrote again, informing me that he had asked the pope to laicize me. So I could wind up just like the former Cardinal who ordained me. Seems strange, since McCarrick abused people, and I just wrote about it.

Every priest I know finds Bishop Knestout’s petition breathtakingly unbelievable. Especially when you consider that there are convicted criminal pedophile priests alive and well today, who have never been laicized.

I do not know what my bishop has sent to Rome. I have asked for more information, and for a chance to understand the rationale and defend myself.

In his letter to me, Bishop Knestout referred to my “persistent disobedience.” He says I should be kicked out of the priesthood for a failure to honor my promise to obey. He has ordered me to shut up about all this. I have not done so.

Can’t we keep this in mind here, please: I made my promise of obedience to a criminal, a criminal that everyone in a miter covered-up for.

I’m doing my best here. I really am, all things considered.

How about cutting a suffering dude a break? I will happily minister to the incarcerated criminals.

After all, a criminal ministered the holy priesthood to me, eighteen years ago today.

Holy Virgin, help of Christians and Mother of the Church, pray for us who have recourse to you.