A Catholic priest in Virginia unveiled his dark past as a member of Ku Klux Klan and revealed that only God’s love can change the people. After admitting his embarrassing past, Rev. William Aitcheson steps down temporarily from his position in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington to settle his unpaid dues.
Aitcheson admitted his gloomy past in the editorial note that he wrote for the Arlington Catholic Herald, published on Monday, Aug. 22. He was so remorseful in his essay, saying that he still regrets his action even after 40 years. He called his involvement in the KKK as “despicable.” He also urged the white supremacists to repent from their hatred that consumes them.
“Your hate will never be satisfied and your anger will never subside.”
Following his remorseful note, the Arlington Diocese released a statement on Thursday to affirm their knowledge of the matter. Catholic Diocese of Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge stated that Aitcheson’s past is sad and troubling, but he acknowledged that the grace and love of God in Jesus Christ have changed a man who was full of hatred to become a good man.
The love of God has changed Aitcheson when he repented and turned his heart toward God. This is what the Catholic Diocese of Arlington saw before accepting him into the ministry in 1993, However, Aitcheson was compelled to come forward to tell his story after the Charlottesville incident. He understands that he has to face the consequences of his past action and make the unpaid obligation.
During his days as a KKK member, Aitcheson was still a student in the University of Maryland in his early 20s. He was identified as a wizard of the KKK and involved in many cross-burning incidents. He also threatened to kill the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott. He was sentenced to jail for his notorious activities as a member of KKK in the late 1970s.
In 1982, the court ordered Aitcheson to pay $23,000 in damages to one of his victims, Philip and Barbara Butler. Aitcheson burned a 7-foot cross in their front yard, soon after they moved to College Park, Maryland, in 1977. Aitcheson never fulfilled the court order to pay the restitution, according to the Butler family.
Both Philip and Barbara were unaware that the main perpetrator who terrorized their family 40 years ago is now a Catholic priest. They were completely shocked when Aitcheson came forward to admit his past. Moreover, they did not know how to react to his confession as they wonder about his sincere remorse and repentance.
[Featured Image by John Bazemore/AP Images]