Pope Lowers Toy Hammer On Bishop Bransfield

by Susan Matthews

The IHM nuns who taught me doled out tougher punishments for uniform violations than the sanctions Pope Francis just placed on Bishop Michael J. Bransfield.

According to Vatican news released today, the pope’s sanctions on the former bishop are in response to findings from a preliminary investigation into allegations of Bransfield’s sexual harassment of adults and financial improprieties. Archbishop William E. Lori of the Baltimore Archdiocese headed the internal investigation.

You might remember that Bransfield allegedly gave lavish financial “gifts” to successfully buy the silence of fellow bishops. So who would be better than a fellow bishop to conduct the internal investigation? Totally makes sense.

What were the findings? Those details didn’t make it into the “communique.” Windex, please. There’s still no transparency to laity. But the Vatican did share the details of these not-so scathing sanctions.

The former bishop is no longer allowed to live in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, WV. He is prohibited from presiding or participating anywhere in any public celebration of Mass. And, the following is quoted from the letter issued today by the Apostolic Nunciature and posted on the WV Diocese’s website.

He has an obligation to make personal amends for some of the harm he caused; the nature and extent of the amends to be decided in consultation with the future bishop of the diocese.

In taking these concrete actions, the Holy See expresses its sincere concern for the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.”

The defrauded parishioners who donated to Sunday collections in West Virginia have zero chance of getting their money back. His adult victims can cool their heels, too. I’m not feeling the Holy See’s concern. Are you?

These “concrete actions” are more like blowing smoke. As we know from other removed priests, including those in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Bransfield can still score swanky digs, hang out on altars and collect his sizable pension. How long does it take to recover from a slap on the wrist. Seconds?

When my daughter was a toddler, she served longer sentences on a cute Time-Out Teddy chair. Seems Pope Francis found an adult-sized version for Bransfield. But the pope isn’t raising a fairly well-behaved child. Reforming immoral clergy will require meaningful consequences.

No one should forget the facts. Read previous blog posts on Bransfield and his co-conspirators:

Rigali Bypassed Review Board In Clearing Bransfield – 2012

Witness Links West Virginia’s Bishop Bransfield to Abuse – 2012

ON THE ROCKS: Cocktails at Bishops’ Conference Belies Church Suffering – 2019

The God Fathers: Time for RICO Investigation of U.S. Catholic Church – 2019

The Bishop Is Back in Town – 2019

6 thoughts on “Pope Lowers Toy Hammer On Bishop Bransfield

  1. Well the point is….. what the hell !!!!! Sex offenders go to jail ! But these sickening guilty priests just get removed from their parishes !!! Why aren’t they ARRESTED !!!! Anyone who puts money in the basket on Sunday is an IDIOT !!!!!

  2. Each time I read of another “sanction” or punishment” issued by the Pope or a Commission I shake my head. It never has substance. Recently, I read an excellent article written by Eugene Cullen Kennedy. It was published in the NCR (6/28/19). The article addresses clergy culture and the sex abuse crisis and was part of a larger work he was working on at the time of his death.

    After reading this article I felt it should be required reading for all clergy.

  3. Why anyone would continue to give money to this corrupt organization is beyond me. But as long as the stupid sheep continue to throw their cash in the basket, nothing will ever change. We thought this pope might clean things up, not as long as he is living fat and happy off your money.

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