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Reverend William Aitcheson, Catholic Priest, Sorry for KKK Past

Reverend William Aitcheson, Catholic Priest, Sorry for KKK Past
Reverend William Aitcheson apologized for his history with the KKK in an editorial. (Diego Vito Cervo/Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 22 August 2017 03:05 PM

Reverend William Aitcheson, a Catholic priest in Arlington, Virginia, revealed he's a former Ku Klux Klan member in an editorial published Monday and apologized for his racist history.

Aitcheson, who said he once burned crosses before joining ministry, temporarily stepped down from his post after addressing his past with the KKK in an editorial piece for the Arlington Catholic Herald.

The title of the article is "Moving from hate to love with God's grace."

"What most people do not know about me is that as an impressionable young man, I was a member of the Ku Klux Klan," Aitcheson wrote. "It's public information but it rarely comes up. My actions were despicable. When I think back on burning crosses, a threatening letter, and so on, I feel as though I am speaking of somebody else. It’s hard to believe that was me."

"I must say this: I’m sorry," he continued. "To anyone who has been subjected to racism or bigotry, I am sorry. I have no excuse, but I hope you will forgive me."

The article comes amid national unrest about the events recently in Charlottesville, Virginia, when hundreds of torch-bearing white supremacists marched UVA's campus in protest of the removal of Confederate Robert E. Lee's statue and a woman was killed when a man drove a car into the crowd of counter-protesters.

"The images from Charlottesville brought back memories of a bleak period in my life that I would have preferred to forget," Aitcheson wrote.

"The images from Charlottesville are embarrassing," he added. "They embarrass us as a country, but for those who have repented from a damaging and destructive past, the images should bring us to our knees in prayer. Racists have polluted minds, twisted by an ideology that reinforces the false belief that they are superior to others."

The 62-year-old reverend volunteered to leave the church temporarily, and his request was granted, the Catholic Herald reported.

In a 1977 article, The Washington Post described Aitcheson as an "exalted cyclops" in the KKK. Aitcheson, who was attending the University of Maryland at the time, was charged for participating in six cross burnings and with making bomb threats and creating pipe bombs.

Aitcheson hasn't been a part of the KKK for nearly 40 years, but he still felt he needed to apologize to those affected by the hate group or his past actions.

He wrote that it's only Jesus Christ who's capable of taking a man who was once a part of the KKK and transforming him into a God-fearing priest.

"As a young adult I was Catholic, but in no way practicing my faith. The irony that I left an anti-Catholic hate group to rejoin the Catholic Church is not lost on me," Aitcheson wrote. "It is a reminder of the radical transformation possible through Jesus Christ in his mercy."

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Reverend William Aitcheson, a Catholic priest in Arlington, Virginia, revealed he's a former Ku Klux Klan member in an editorial published Monday and apologized for his racist history.
reverend, william aitcheson, priest, kkk
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2017-05-22
Tuesday, 22 August 2017 03:05 PM
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