Charleston priest retired over Wheeling bishop’s costly renovation to Sacred Heart

Gazette Mail

Nov. 4, 2019

By Ryan Quinn

From the late 1980s until a couple of years ago, the physical heart of the church at the heart of downtown Charleston’s Catholic complex was made of mahogany.

At what is now the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, that fine wood made up the ambo (or pulpit) from which Monsignor Edward Sadie read the gospel, and the altar from which he gave Mass.

The bishop’s chair, called the cathedra, in which Sadie could not sit, also was mahogany. The cathedral, in which that chair sits, is technically the bishop’s church.

So, until he left his post last year, the chair belonged to Michael Bransfield, bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. So did the church.

And Bransfield, now notorious for spending Diocese money on personal luxuries, wanted a marble chair, a marble ambo and a marble altar.

The Bishop’s Fund — the nonprofit that, as reported by The Washington Post, Bransfield created and then funded entirely through Wheeling Hospital money — paid for about $2.3 million worth of renovations to Sacred Heart in 2017.

These renovations, done within the past few years, replaced the mahogany with marble. The renovations covered the floor with marble, too.

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