Disinvitation before the meeting: Bishop Michael Bransfield, suspended for enrichment in office and sexual assault, will not be allowed to attend the upcoming fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Its chairman, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, told the former bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, according to media reports (Tuesday), that he would not be welcome at the meeting from Monday to Wednesday of next week.
Reports say the unusual move came at the initiative of Wheeling-Charleston's new bishop, Mark Brennan, 72. He had asked to disinvite his scandal-plagued predecessor shortly after taking office in August, he said.
Bransfield did not want to come anyway
Pope Francis had accepted Bransfield's age-related resignation in August 2018. At the same time, he ordered an investigation because of the serious accusations. Bransfield was accused of abuse of power, sexual harassment of priests and massive embezzlement of church funds, among other charges. Francis suspended the US bishop from all priestly activities.
His successor Brennan justified the disinvitation with the necessary respect for the faithful of his diocese. Moreover, the bishops' conference should be "spared any embarrassment" that Bransfield's participation would cause. The latter let it be known that he had not wanted to appear in Baltimore anyway.