Local priest says Bishop changed the locks on his churches and residence

Local News

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Father Mark White, a priest with churches in Martinsville and Rocky Mount, says Reverend Barry Knestout, Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, sent a locksmith to change the locks on the doors of White’s churches and residences, as part of an ongoing battle between the two.

For months now, White has been in a fight with the Diocese of Richmond. The Bishop is trying to re-assign him as a prison chaplain, a direct result of White continuing to maintain his viral blog.

In the blog, White is often critical of the Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abuse of minors. He uses the blog to call for more transparency from the Church about who helped cover it up.

White is appealing the Bishop’s decision to move him, and he says that appeal is currently pending in the Vatican.

White says last month, the bishop changed the locks on both of White’s churches and the residence in Rocky Mount. White says he was able to stop the locksmith from changing the lock at the Martinsville residence, so he still has a roof over his head.

“We were at least respecting the basic rules of how people should treat each other when they have a disagreement,” said White, “or at least I was trying to, and that just kind of went out the window. It turned into an ugly street fight.”

White also tells WFXR that the Bishop plans to assign another priest to take over duties in Rocky Mount and Martinsville full time starting in August, even before a final decision comes from the Vatican, effectively removing White from his congregation.

WFXR reached out to the Diocese of Richmond, but they did not respond to our request for comment.

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