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Barry C. Knestout

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Barry Christopher Knestout
Bishop of Richmond
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
SeeDiocese of Richmond
AppointedDecember 5, 2017
InstalledJanuary 12, 2018
PredecessorFrancis X. DiLorenzo
OrdinationJune 24, 1989
by James Aloysius Hickey
ConsecrationDecember 29, 2008
by Donald Wuerl, Francisco González Valer, and Martin Holley
Personal details
Born (1962-06-11) June 11, 1962 (age 62)
Previous post(s)
EducationMount St. Mary's Seminary
University of Maryland
MottoChrist our hope
Styles of
Barry Christopher Knestout
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop

Barry Christopher Knestout (born June 11, 1962) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church who has served as Bishop of Richmond since 2017.

Previously, Knestout served as the priest secretary for Cardinal James Hickey of Washington and then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Knestout also served as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, assisting Cardinal Donald Wuerl.


Early life[edit]

Barry Knestout was born in Cheverly, Maryland, on June 11, 1962, to Thomas and Caroline Knestout. Thomas was a deacon who served as a cryptologist for the National Security Agency and as the director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate for the Archdiocese of Washington.[1] Barry Knestout has five brothers and three sisters.[2] A younger brother, Mark Knestout, is a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington.[3][4][5]

As a child, Barry Knestout lived with his family in Ankara, Turkey, for four years. On returning to the United States, he attended St. Pius X School and Bowie Senior High School, both in Bowie, Maryland.[6] Knestout then studied at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, obtaining a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1984.[6]

In 1985, having decided to become a priest, Knestout entered Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1988 and a Master of Theology degree in moral theology in 1989.[7]


Knestout was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Washington at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., by Cardinal James Aloysius Hickey on June 24, 1989.[8] After his ordination, the archdiocese assigned Knestout to serve as associate pastor at the following parishes:

Hickey named Knestout as his priest-secretary in 1994, a position he would hold until Hickey's death in 2004. The Vatican raised Knestout to the rank of monsignor in 1999. In 2001, Hickey appointed Knestout as executive director of the archdiocesan office of youth ministry, a post he held for two years.[6] Knestout also served as priest-secretary for McCarrick from 2003 to 2004.[7]

In 2004, the archdiocese assigned Knestout to serve as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Silver Spring, Maryland. McCarrick appointed him as archdiocesan secretary for pastoral life and social concerns in 2006.[6] In April 2007, Knestout became vicar general and moderator of the curia of the archdiocese.[7]

In 2008, Wuerl appointed Knestout to co-chair the Papal Visit Planning Committee in 2008, overseeing preparations for Pope Benedict XVI's 2008 visit to the United States. In planning the papal visit, Knestout collaborated with his brother Mark, who was director of the archdiocese Office of Worship at the time.[3] Barry Knestout ran a contest for architecture students at The Catholic University of America in Washington to design the altar and chair for the pope to use when celebrating mass at Nationals Park in that city.[6] The Vatican later awarded Knestout a Holy Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for his work on the papal visit.[9]

Auxiliary Bishop of Washington[edit]

Coat of arms as auxiliary bishop of Washington

On November 18, 2008, Knestout was appointed titular bishop of Leavenworth and an auxiliary bishop of Washington by Benedict XVI. He was consecrated on December 29 by Wuerl, with Bishops Francisco Valer and Martin Holley serving as co-consecrators, at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.[8] Knestout was the first native of Prince George's County in Maryland to serve as a bishop for the archdiocese.[3]

Bishop of Richmond[edit]

On December 5, 2017, Knestout was appointed the 13th bishop of Richmond by Pope Francis.[4] He was installed on January 12, 2018, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, Virginia.[5]

In February 2019, Knestout released a list of 42 priests from the diocese who were facing credible accusations of sexual abuse of minors.[10] On June 31, 2018, following McCarrick's resignation from the college of cardinals, Knestout denied knowing of any sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick while he was serving as his priest-secretary. Knestout made this statement:

My first assignment was in 2001 while still serving as priest-secretary to Cardinal James A. Hickey. I was asked to also assist as priest-secretary to his successor, Cardinal McCarrick for six months. Despite the double assignment during those six months, most of my time was spent with the elderly Cardinal Hickey – with whom I worked for nearly a decade. In 2003, I was assigned to the Chancery for a year as one of two priest-secretaries at the time for Cardinal McCarrick as his appointment scheduler. During that year, Cardinal McCarrick traveled frequently in his work with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and in his other duties as Cardinal.

On May 10, 2020, Knestout suspended Reverend Mark White from ministry for violations of canon law. White had been writing a blog that accused Knestout, Francis and the church hierarchy of covering up McCarrick's crimes. In 2019, Knestout had ordered White to stop writing the blog. When White resumed it later that year, Knestout obtained a trespass order, barring him from church properties.[11] In June 2020, White's petition to the Congregation for Clergy in Rome to remain in his parishes was rejected.[12]

On October 22, 2020, Knestout announced a $6.3 million settlement to 51 people who were sexually abused as children by clergy from the diocese. He also established the Independent Reconciliation Program to help the healing of the victims.[13]

On February 13, 2023, Knestout protested a leaked internal document from the Richmond office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The memo mentioned the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) and the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) as possible contact points for White Nationalists. Several days earlier, the FBI had retracted the memo.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Deacons Son: A New Bishop in Washington, D.C." Catholic Online. December 30, 2008. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011.
  2. ^ Zimmerman, Mark (November 18, 2008). "Pope Benedict names Msgr. Knestout as auxiliary bishop for Washington". My Catholic Standard. Archived from the original on February 22, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Zimmerman, Mark (December 30, 2008). "Bishop Barry Knestout ordained as new auxiliary bishop for Washington". My Catholic Standard. Archived from the original on March 26, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  4. ^ a b White, Christopher (December 5, 2017). "Bishop Barry Knestout tapped to lead the diocese of Richmond". Crux. Archived from the original on December 6, 2017. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Bishop". Diocese of Richmond - The Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout, D.D. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Bishop Barry C. Knestout". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. Archived from the original on December 27, 2008.
  7. ^ a b c "Pope Francis Names Auxiliary Bishop of Washington as New Bishop of Richmond | USCCB". www.usccb.org. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  8. ^ a b "Bishop Barry Christopher Knestout". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
  9. ^ Palmo, Rocco (November 19, 2008). "The Visit Over, It's Gong Time". Whispers in the Loggia.
  10. ^ "Richmond lists 42 priests accused of sexually abusing minors". WTOP News. February 13, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  11. ^ "Catholic bishop suspends priest and issues trespass order over blog about clergy sex abuse". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  12. ^ Mirshahi, Dean (June 23, 2020). "Despite Vatican's ruling, Virginia priest who blogs about clergy sex abuse remains defiant". WAVY.com. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  13. ^ "Catholic Diocese of Richmond to pay $6.2M to sexual abuse victims". richmondfreepress.com. October 22, 2020. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  14. ^ "Bishop condemns FBI memo that sought to link Latin Mass to violent extremism". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved January 9, 2024.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Richmond
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Washington
Succeeded by