Update: Since the publishing of this post, he’s arranged to do the necessary with his fines. At least some of those involved aren’t sure what to make of all this, not in the past, not today. Wounds go deep. We pray for healing all around. ////
I’m Pope Francis’ Jewish Missionary of Mercy, also a Catholic priest. One of my fellow priests, Father Bill Aitcheson, used to head up a cell of the KKK, a terrorist group targeting Jews, Catholics and people with varying degrees of pigmentation.
- O.K. I get it. Our Lord forgave Saul of Tarsus, Saul who was persecuting people to death. Great.
- O.K. I get it. We’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with original sin and whatever rubbish sin we’ve otherwise come up with. And the Lord is willing to forgive us. Great.
- O.K. I get it. Father William Aitcheson, native of Arlington diocese, repented of his being the leader of a terrorist KKK cell as a fully grown man in his mid-20s (not an “impressionable youth”) and then started the process of becoming a priest in Reno-Las Vegas diocese, attending the North American College in Rome the same years I was in Rome. Great.
What I don’t understand is how the diocese in Nevada and how the NAC and again how the diocese of Arlington years later and until today could overlook the fact that he didn’t pay his court imposed fines to pay for damages to multiple victims, fines merely totaling $23,000 at the time, and, if he paid none of it, now equal to $58,769.08, still not that much.
- $20,000 to the Butler family at whose house he burned a cross (He did NOT pay that.)
- $1,500 to the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation at the University of Maryland where he burned a cross (Did he pay that?)
- $1,500 to the Beth Torah Congregation in Hyattsville where he burned a cross (Did he pay that?)
When people repent, part of the repentance involves restitution. He says he wants to do this now. The diocese of Arlington, which insists he’s merely temporarily on leave, ought, because of their own obtuse assertion, pay his fines with increased values straight out in one chunk of money. Father Bill can pay the diocese of Arlington back.
But until then, I don’t believe either he or the diocese is sincere. He’s still Father KKK to me. And the diocese of Arlington, until they pay up, is basically saying that terrorism doesn’t matter, racism doesn’t matter, bigotry doesn’t matter, violence doesn’t matter. Father Aitcheson says he came forward because of the Charlottesville murder. The diocese says he was instead caught out by a reporter. I suppose both can be true coincidentally. Fine. But the restitution needs to be paid. Real apologies need to be given.
The spokesman for the diocese of Arlington says that “Father Aitcheson and Bishop Michael Burbidge have expressed a desire to meet in a pastoral, private setting with the Butler family in the hope that it may bring them healing.” — Do the Butlers want all that privacy, or is it Father Aitcheson who suggested that? He’s mentioned his embarrassment any number of times. Moreover, is there any meeting set up with B’nai B’rith Hillel and Beth Torah, or did he apologize 40 years ago and so we can forget about all those Jewish people today?
A serious question for Father William Aitchenson and to diocesan officials all of whom overlooked the lack of restitution: Was there ever any real intention to pay restitution, and, if not, was any forgiveness from the Lord ever received by Aitcheson by way of baptism or an absolution? Bear the fruits of repentance, and I’ll be happy to provide an absolution for you as Pope Francis’ Missionary of Mercy. I’m no better than you. I’d rather see you go to heaven with real repentance. It’s all about Jesus.
From the relevant declassified FBI file: