Two Next Steps

old-booksNumber One

With the Lord’s help, I will write a book. Tentative working title: Ordained by a Predator.

I plan to write five chapters:

1. Summer 2018

2. What I Think Happened with McCarrick

3. The Church We Believe In

4. The Bishop-Knestout Affair

5. “Justice for Father Mark?”

May the good Lord give me two weeks of peace and quiet to write a draft. May He send me a book agent who could help me get it published. (Please let me know, if you know someone.) May He guide my mind and my pen.

Send thoughts and ideas, if you have them. (I may or may not be able to answer, these next couple weeks, but I promise to read any ideas I get.)

Richmond Cathedral WRIC screenshot2

Number Two

This Sunday, we will keep another prayerful vigil in front of the Cathedral in Richmond, beginning at 4:00pm. 823 Cathedral Pl, Richmond, VA 23220.

Please come. We have seats available on vans from Rocky Mount and Martinsville. Call or e-mail Joe Kernan: 540-263-1516 or 276-632-9941 or

O God, who crowned the Blessed Virgin Mary with surpassing glory, grant, through her prayers, that we may merit to be exalted with you on high, through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son.

(from the Collect for the Vigil Mass of the Assumption)

El Greco Virgin Mary

Happy 12th anniversary of this little weblog ❤️

Peaceful Demonstration: Plan to Join Me

Justice Demonstration

Every year, the bishop and priests gather to celebrate Mass together. We priests re-affirm our solemn promises. It’s called the Chrism Mass, after the holy oil consecrated during the liturgy.

sacredheartcathedralrichmondThis year, our Chrism Mass will occur in the evening of Friday, July 10, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 823 Cathedral Place, Richmond VA 23220.

On May 5, Bishop Knestout prohibited me from publicly celebrating the sacraments, so I cannot participate. The injustice cries to heaven.

I will stand in silent vigil on the sidewalk immediately outside the Cathedral, beginning at 5:00pm.

Please stand with me. Acompañame, por favor.

Plan to take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

Justice for Father Mark will offer free transportation by van from both Rocky Mount and Martinsville, departing at 11:45am and returning about 11pm. Join the facebook group page to receive further information.

The McCarrick Report

Just put a letter to Archbishop Gregory into the mail…

St Matthews Cathedral

Your Excellency,

In 2001, when Theodore McCarrick took possession of the Archdiocese of Washington, he did so as a criminal fleeing justice. He had sexually abused seminarians and at least one minor.

By late 2004, Donald Wuerl and Joseph Ratzinger, among others, knew beyond any reasonable doubt that the sitting Archbishop of Washington was a criminal. No written law explicitly condemned what they knew McCarrick had done to some of his seminarians. But every honest churchman would have recognized the criminal acts. As Pope John Paul II so famously put it, in 2002: “There is no place in the priesthood for those who would harm the young.”

The Apostolic See had a clear duty: put McCarrick on trial. Didn’t happen.

By this time of year in 2006, McCarrick had turned seventy-five, Ratzinger had become Pope Benedict, and the nuncio called Donald Wuerl. Everyone involved entered into a dishonest pact.

Just a few years earlier, Wuerl had participated in the common promise of the American bishops never again to cover-up clerical sexual abuse. Pope Benedict had been a party to that promise as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. But in the case of Theodore McCarrick, they broke their recent promise. Pope Benedict, Pope Francis, and Donald Wuerl proceeded to cover-up the crimes of Theodore McCarrick for the ensuing twelve years. They ended the cover-up only when forced to do so, by circumstances beyond their control.

If Donald Wuerl were an honest man, he would have told Pope Benedict back in the spring of 2006: I will not accept the Archdiocese of Washington as my pastoral charge until we make good on our promise and deliver public justice against McCarrick. Had that happened, Wuerl could have entered St. Matthew’s cathedral without dishonesty. As it was, he sat on the throne in Washington with a lie under the cushion for twelve years, complicit in that lie with two popes.

Sir: Do not enter St. Matthew’s with this same lie burdening you. Insist that the pope acknowledge these known facts. Recognize that the Apostolic See has grievously wronged the faithful of Washington. From at least 2004 until 2018, Rome failed to exercise due vigilance over Theodore McCarrick. Pope Francis must openly acknowledge this, and Donald Wuerl must openly acknowledge his complicity in it. Neither of these men deserve anyone’s trust until they publicly acknowledge these known facts.

Until these admissions take place, do not enter St. Matthew’s in the company of Donald Wuerl, and do not accept the apostolic mandate from Pope Francis. I know you didn’t ask for my advice. But I advise you as a brother, anyway.

Christ always offers us a fresh start. But we have to live in the truth. The truth: McCarrick entered St. Matthew’s a dishonest criminal. Donald Wuerl entered a liar. Two popes lived in this lie for years.

Don’t walk in as another liar.


Yours in Christ, Father Mark White

The River Flows

Unless we tend constantly towards Easter, towards the horizon of the Resurrection, the mentality expressed in the slogan “I want it all and I want it now!” gains the upper hand.

(from Pope Francis’ Message for Lent)

…I’m sitting and watching the Cumberland River flow by. Next to the ruins of a bridge that 17,000 Cherokee had to cross in 1838, on the Trail of Tears.

Not quite sure why His Holiness needed to pick on Queen (the band) in his Lent message. But the Holy Father makes an excellent point nonetheless.

Mt LeConte
Your unworthy servant across from Mount LeConte in the Great Smokies

Came out to Tennessee to see some mountains and run a race. A year ago they dedicated a brand-new Sacred Heart cathedral in Knoxville.

Knoxville cathedral exterior.jpg

Knoxville cathedral nave.jpg


The front portico reminds you of our cathedral in Richmond.

Knoxville cathedral street facade.jpg

The baldachin reminds you of San Clemente in Rome, or St. Lawrence Outside the Walls.

Knoxville cathedral baldachino.jpg

Knoxville cathedral sanctuary.jpg

They stenciled invocations from the Litany of the Sacred Heart into the interior frieze.

Knoxville cathedral Litany invocation.jpg

They have a stole that Pope St. John Paul II wore.

JP II stole Knoxville.jpg

JP II Dziwisz plaque Knoxville.jpg

(I did not photograph the statue of St. JP II, because it does not look good.)

…I visited Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage…

They are in the middle of renovating the Nashville cathedral.

Nashville cathedral nave.jpg

Nashville cathedral side aisle.jpg

…Tennessee became a state in 1796. To celebrate the Centennial, they constructed a wood-and-plaster replica of the Parthenon in Athens, among other ersatz classical buildings. After the Centennial Exhibition ended, they decided to build a more-permanent replica of the Parthenon.

That building houses one of the most-charming collections of paintings I have ever encountered, given to the city of Nashville in 1927 by insurance-executive James Cowan.

Drive South

They built an amazing new cathedral in the diocese of Raleigh, NC.


It sits out in the suburbs, with land for more buildings someday.


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When you walk in, you can hardly believe that God found a way to get something like this built in 2016-17. It seats 2,000.


With side aisles lined with saints.


They put St. John Neumann (resting in Philadelphia) in place before the Eagles won the Super Bowl.


And a memento mori St. Francis.


Try not to mind the goofball in his driving duds…


The statues seem a little lifeless to me. But the Stations…stunning.


Gold bas-relief images of the Evangelists’ symbols flank the tabernacle…



And a Michelangelo-esque dome illumines the crossing and transepts…

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May the faithful of Raleigh glorify God here for the next thousand years.

In 2005, I visited Rome with a dear friend, priest of the Diocese of Raleigh. We had the privilege of meeting Cardinal Ratzinger just a few weeks before he became Pope Benedict.

At that time, I had Washington, D.C., for my home–and the Cardinal had certainly heard of Washington. But when he asked my friend about his home diocese, His Eminence had to admit that he had never heard of Raleigh, N.C.

I think he has now.

Resolving with St. Basil

st basil cathedral onion domes

Jan. 2: Memorial of St. Basil the Great.

Anyone ever laid eyes on St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow?

Officially, it is the Cathedral of the Most Holy Theotokos. We kept the Solemnity of the Theotokos, Mother of God, yesterday, on a holy day of obligation, binding on all able-bodied Catholics.

The St. Basil whose relics are kept in the church on Red Square is actually a later St. Basil, who lived in the 16th century, not the original St. Basil the Great. But it sure is a beautiful-looking church.

Here’s a quote from the original St. Basil, friend of St. Gregory Nazianzen:

There is still time for endurance, time for patience, time for healing, time for change. Have you slipped? Rise up. Have you sinned? Cease.

Here’s another quote, from the beginning of St. Basil’s Rule for holy living:

Since, by God’s grace, we have gathered together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—we who have set before ourselves one and the same goal, the devout life—and since you have plainly manifested your eagerness to hear something on the matters pertaining to salvation…I implore you then, by the charity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, let us at length apply our minds to the affairs of our souls, and grieve for the vanity of our past life…Why will we not place before our eyes that fearsome and manifest day of the Lord?…We say indeed that we desire the kingdom of heaven, yet we are not solicitous for the means whereby it is attained…

But, teacher! asks the disciple, Since Scripture has given us leave to propound questions, we must ask, first of all, whether the commandments of God have a certain order or sequence, as it were, so that one comes first?

St. Basil replies:

Your question is an old one, proposed long ago in the gospel…The Lord answered: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul and with your whole strength and with your whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

So let’s resolve to make 2013 a year of faith and Christian love.

Holy Co-operation!

God is holy. By definition.

The apse wall of Otranto Cathedral holds the skulls of 800 martyrs
What is holy?


What is God?


He is holy.

He is infinitely, terrifyingly holy.

He is won-derfully, magni-ficently holy.

We Christians aspire to holiness. We desire the holiness of God. We want to share in His glory. We want to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy.

Are we presumptuous? After all, how can we be holy—we who subsist on the flesh of dead animals, and sometimes produce bad smells and bad words, and spend a lot of time thinking about ice cream and professional sports and a lot of other things that don’t exactly pertain to holiness? How can we hope to be holy?

Continue reading “Holy Co-operation!”

Happy to Be Alive

This time last year–quarterfinals of the Big East tournament–the Hoyas were already dead.

But today we visited sweet revenge upon the USF Bulls.

Tomorrow? …Oh, yes: Syracuse. High Noon.

…Check out this interesting sculpture from Chartres cathedral.

The Lord is forming Adam from the dust of the earth, sculpting the head of the first man.

The original Adam was made in the image of the New Adam–Christ. This sculpture reflects this.

May it also reflect the way that the New Adam shapes and moulds us. Only Christ can form me into the person I am truly meant to be.

I allow Him to form me by worshiping Him, studying Him, obeying Him, imitating Him.

May He make saints out of us all!

Natural Evil

Jeremy Hazell

The “Intelligent Design Debate” has been going on a long time:

If the movement of the universe were irrational, and the world rolled on in a random fashion, one would be justified in disbelieving what we say.

But if the world is founded on reason, wisdom, and science, and is filled with orderly beauty, then it must owe its origin and order to none other than the Word of God.

–St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, died A.D. 373.

…We are praying hard for everyone in Haiti. May all who are unaccounted-for be found safe.

Port-au-Prince Cathedral, January 14
We pray for the repose of Archbishop Serge Miot and all the dead.

Many souls certainly went to their deaths without proper preparation; may God be merciful.

We pledge ourselves to help everyone in need.

But before we panic and go reeling off into uncharted spiritual territory–losing perspective on ultimate reality because of the incessant buzzing of the television–let’s remind ourselves of the words of the expert demon to the junior tempter in Screwtape Letter #28:

I sometimes wonder if you young fiends are not kept out on temptation duty too long at a time–if you are not in some danger of becoming infected by the sentiments and values of the humans among whom you work.

They, or course, do tend to regard death as the prime evil, and survival as the greatest good. But that is because we have taught them to do so.

Do not let us be infected by our own propaganda…Whatever you do, keep your patient as safe as you possibly can…

Capuchin Crypt in Rome
The long, dull years of middle-aged prosperity are excellent campaigning weather for us.

…My dear mom regards my desire to live among skeletons as “extreme.”

If you want extreme, check out the crypt-level chapels of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Rome.

…Big Hoya game against Seton Hall this evening.

Chvotkin has the call at 7:00 on AM 980. Jeremy Hazell is a dangerous sharp-shooter. Root hard!