Fr. Aitcheson became a Klan member during his college years in Maryland.
Virginia priest, Father William is taking a leave of absence after disclosing he once was Ku Klux Klan “wizard.”[/tweetit] The priest, who belongs to a Roman Catholic Diocese, voluntarily wrote about his KKK membership in the Arlington Catholic Herald.
Catholic Priest Takes Leave After Disclosing He Was Part of KKK[/tweetthis]
40 years ago, William Aitcheson was a student at University of Maryland, a KKK member, and had burned a cross in the front yard of an African-American newlywed couple's home. Aitcheson had to pay approximately $20,000 and was sent to jail. After this, he had a change in heart and went to attend a seminary in Rome. Aitcheson soon became an ordained Catholic priest.
Father Aitcheson returned to the United States. He served in a number of Virginia parishes, and most recently at Fairfax City's St. Leo the Great. He has been in the last location for about four years.
Thank u for sharing ur story of transformation, Father William Aitcheson. Ur honesty is appreciated & needed these days. May God Bless u.
— Mike (@MikeH_MapleGrov) August 22, 2017
Father Aitcheson apologized for his KKK past. He said that the images of white nationalists rallying in Charlottesville had reminded him of period in life which he will be happy to forget. Michael Burbidge, the Bishop of Arlington, said through a statement that although he finds the priest's association with the KKK troubling, he hopes this story will encourage other people to turn away from hate.
Father Aitcheson described himself during that phase as an impressionable young person. This was the reason for joining the KKK. It remains unclear of how many people in his past or present parishes are aware of his former KKK membership. It must be said, 24 years ago the Arlington's Catholic Diocese said they “learned of his past as well as his sincere conversion of heart.”
His essay states he “voluntarily asked to step away from public ministry, for the well being of the Church and parish community.”