Justice in the U.S © Lukasz Stefanski (shutterstock)
Catholic Bishop Michael Bransfield, under fire for massive embezzlement of church funds and sexual misconduct, is said to have nearly 800.000 US dollars back. In September 2018, he had resigned from his post.
For "the serious damage he caused" Bransfield should be 792.000 US dollars (719.000 euros) to be reimbursed. His successor in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Bishop Mark Brennan, urged him to do so, as reported by the CNS news service (Tuesday local time). Bransfield has used diocesan funds "to support a luxurious lifestyle," according to a letter in which Brennan informs the faithful of his diocese of a "nine-point plan".
Resigned from office in September 2018
Bransfield had resigned from his post in September 2018 following serious allegations of sexual molestation of young priests and financial misconduct. Pope Francis assessed the allegations "as credible and well-founded". Brennan's plan, in addition to direct financial demands, includes a reduction in pension payments to the 76-year-old. Also, certain health care benefits should no longer be covered, as well as the privilege of burial in the diocese.
Restitution of funds for Bransfield's luxury expenses, including expensive private trips, restaurant visits and cash gifts to powerful church officials, is an "act of justice toward the victims," Bishop Brennan wrote, referring to the abuse allegations against his predecessor. The required money is to be paid into a fund for the benefit of victims. The nine-point plan has also been submitted to the papal nuncio in the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre.