Are demotions enough punishment for priests?

Martinsville Journal

June 23, 2019

So, what about Monsignors Frederick Annie, Anthony Cincinnati and Kevin Quirk? Are demotions enough punishment?

The three were, for years, vicars in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, under former bishop Michael Bransfield. They enabled some of his misbehavior, according to a report submitted to the Vatican.

And Bransfield misbehaved badly, according to the report. It states he sexually harassed some adults and spent millions of dollars in church money for his own benefit. He retired last year.

Those asking how he got away with it for many years get a partial answer in the church investigators’ report: “Despite witnessing multiple instances of harassing and abusive behavior over several years, none of the Vicars took action to address Bishop Bransfield’s behavior.”

Archbishop William Lori, of Baltimore, was placed in charge of the diocese after Bransfield left. Last week, he revealed Annie, Cincinnati and Quirk have been reassigned — all as parish priests. That’s quite a demotion.

Annie will serve as a priest in Star City, adjacent to Morgantown. Cincinnati goes to a Morgantown parish. Quirk will serve parishes in New Martinsville and Paden City.

Should they have been booted out entirely? I have heard their cases compared to those of predator priests who abused children and, instead of being punished severely — and reported to police — were transferred to other parishes.

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