Diocesan Statement regarding Fr. William Aitcheson

August 21, 2017

On August 21, 2017, Fr. William Aitcheson authored an editorial in which he comments on his past life as a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He left that life behind him 40 years ago and since journeyed in faith to eventually become a Catholic priest.

Bishop Burbidge responded to the article with the following statement:

“While Fr. Aitcheson’s past with the Ku Klux Klan is sad and deeply troubling, I pray that in our current political and social climate his message will reach those who support hate and division, and inspire them to a conversion of heart. Our Lord is ready to help them begin a new journey, one where they will find peace, love, and mercy. The Catholic Church will walk with anyone to help bring them closer to God.”

There have been no accusations of racism or bigotry against Fr. Aitcheson throughout his time in the Diocese of Arlington.

Fr. William Aitcheson’s article was written with the intention of telling his story of transformation. He voluntarily asked to temporarily step away from public ministry, for the well-being of the Church and parish community, and the request was approved. He will not be available for interviews.

Fr. William Aitcheson ecclesial timeline:

  • October 3, 1954 – date of birth (current age 62)
  • 1984-1988 - Seminary – North American College in Rome
  • December 10, 1988 – ordained a priest for the Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Late 1988 to mid 1991 – assigned to parish duties in Las Vegas
  • Mid 1991 – transferred to St. Therese, Church of the Little Flower in Reno
  • October 18, 1993 – arrival in the Diocese of Arlington
  • October 18, 1993 to July 1, 1997 – associate pastor, St. Elizabeth, Colonial Beach
  • July 1, 1997 to June 28, 2000 – associate pastor, St. Patrick, Fredericksburg
  • February 23, 1998 – incardinated in the Diocese of Arlington
    • This is when he officially became a permanent priest of the Diocese of Arlington. Until this point, he was still a priest of the Diocese of Reno.
  • June 28, 2000 to January 5, 2002 – administrator, St. John Bosco, Woodstock
  • January 5, 2002 to November 1, 2005 – pastor, St. John Bosco, Woodstock
  • November 1, 2005 to June 25, 2008 – parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist, Warrenton
  • June 25, 2008 to June 25, 2014 – parochial vicar at St. Timothy, Chantilly
  • June 25, 2014 to present – parochial vicar at St. Leo the Great, Fairfax City
  • August 21, 2017 – approved for a temporary leave of absence from parish duties

Media Contact:

Angela Pellerano
Director of Media Relations