Opinion: Disgraced West Virginia Bishop Apologizes (Kinda) and Repays Diocese (Partially)

Friendly Atheist via Patheos.com (blog)

August 23, 2020

By Val Wilde

“Scandal or wonderment” — that’s how former West Virginia bishop Michael Bransfield describes the fallout from the misuse of his position.

While he presided over the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Bransfield was living it up on the parishioners’ dime: pouring millions of dollars into personal travel and luxury purchases, spending hundreds of thousands on gifts for other priests.

And yes, those gifts had ulterior motives attached: Some of them went to senior leaders in a bid to buy influence in the region, while others went to younger clerics Bransfield was later accused of sexually harassing.

Rather than stripping Bransfield of his priesthood, Pope Francis elected to write a strongly-worded letter of admonishment with a few weak-tea sanctions tossed in to encourage him to “make personal amends for some of the harm he has caused.”

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