Bishop Michael Bransfield has repaid more than $400,000 to his former diocese and issued a narrowly-worded apology to the faithful.
The apology comes nearly two years after Pope Francis accepted his resignation amid accusations of personal and financial misconduct.
The letter from Bishop Bransfield, dated August 15, was released by his former diocese on Thursday, along with a letter from his successor, Bishop Mark Brennan, outlining how Bishop Bransfield will “make amends” following an investigation into his conduct by the Vatican.
“I am writing to apologize for any scandal or wonderment caused by words or actions attributed to me during my tenure as Bishop of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese,” said Bishop Bransfield, who led the diocese from 2005 to 2018, when Pope Francis accepted his resignation just after Bransfield turned 75.
Bishop Bransfield did acknowledge that, during his tenure, “I was reimbursed for certain expenditures that have been called into question as excessive,” but insisted that he “believed that such reimbursements to me were proper.”
After Pope Francis accepted Bishop Bransfield’s resignation in 2018, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore was ordered to investigate allegations that Bishop Bransfield had sexually harassed adult males and misused diocesan finances during his tenure. Investigators established that the bishop had engaged in a pattern of sexual malfeasance and serious financial misconduct.
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