Catholic News Agency 13 September, 2019

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield (CNS photo/Colleen Rowan, The Catholic Spirit)

A Washington Post investigation traced Bishop Michael Bransfield. Bransfield spent nearly one million dollars on private jets and over $660,000 on airfare and hotels during his 13 years as bishop of his former diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

A new investigation by the Washington Post, published on September 12, reported that during his last year in active ministry, Bransfield took at least 19 trips in what was described as a chartered luxury jet.

Those trips cost the diocese more than $142,000.

In accord with canon law, Bransfield submitted his resignation as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston was to Pope Francis last September following his 75th birthday. It was accepted immediately.

Following his resignation, Pope Francis ordered Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore to conduct an investigation into allegations that Bransfield had sexually harassed adult males and misused diocesan finances during his time in West Viginia.

Following that investigation, Lori banned Bransfield from public ministry within the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and Archdiocese of Baltimore in March, and the Vatican announced a series of sanctions in July.

In addition to restrictions on publicly celebrating Mass within the diocese, Bransfield was also prohibited from living in his former diocese ordered to “make personal amends for some of the harm he caused.” These “personal amends” are to be determined by Bransfield’s successor, Bishop Mark Brennan, who took office on September 3, 2019.

Other examples of financially irresponsible conduct highlighted by the report included a diocesean pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, which is just under a five-hour drive from St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Wheeling. Pilgrims who opted to spend the night in DC paid $190 each for bus, hotel, and breakfast, while others paid $30 for a day-trip ticket.

Bransfield did not take the bus with the other pilgrims. Instead, he chartered a private plane for the 33-minute trip between Wheeling and Dulles International Airport, taking a limousine to and from the airport. Bransfield’s travel costs of nearly $7,000 were paid by the diocese.

The Post also found that Bransfield had a pattern of travelling first-class when flying on commercial airlines and stays in luxury hotel suites – including a weeklong stay in The Colony Hotel’s “Presidential Penthouse” in January 2018 that cost the diocese $9,336.

Bishop Bransfield told the Post that he was not the one who made the reservations at luxury hotels, and instead placed the blame on his staff. He declined to say who was responsible for making reservations.

On trips to Europe, both for work and personal vacation, Bransfield stayed in luxury accommodation, and often travelling with young priests in their 20s. Bransfield was accused of sexual harassment by at least one of his travel companions.

Some of the bishop’s travel was connected to his work with the Papal Foundation, the board of which he led until his retirement last year.

Bransfield also spent thousands of dollars on jewelry and other clothing, including spending more than $60,000 of diocesean money at a boutique jeweler in Washington, DC during his time in office.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Bransfield said that West Virginia was unable to provide “the lifestyle [he] lived in Washington.”

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston met the costs for Bransfield’s travels to visit his family, and much of his month-long stays on the Jersey Shore. The diocese paid for a $276 purchase at a liquor store, as well as a month-long car rental for $2,975.

He also chartered a jet to and from the Jersey Shore to Washington, DC, for a meeting following the announcement that he was being investigated for financial improprieties.

During Bransfield’s time as bishop, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston either shut down or ceased funding more than 20 parishes and parochial schools.


What a permissive and anti Christian lifestyle this man has been living.

Penthouse suits, private jets etc.

But he is not alone.

Many RC prelates live millionaire lifestyles.

And they regard it as their entitlement.

Our Noel Treanor in Belfast spent £4 million on his palace.

Cardinals in Rome spend 50,000 on their kitchens.

What has all this to do with Jesus of Nazareth?


Nothing, Pat, nothing.
To be frank, it’s partly the fault of the sheep who finance this circus. Didn’t I read that this diocese owns an oil well that was bequeathed to them.
To the faithful: you can easily stop men like this chartering jets to the investigation of their financial impropriety. Very easily. And it’s not by asking them to behave, they won’t.


When you read about this kind of gross self given privileges and an overstated self importance, it is very disturbing . Each bishop is entitled to a salary but it seems to me that all American Dioceses devise their own salary according to income received. In this case the Bishop seems to be very profligate in endowing himself with proceeds from oil field assets, which of course is corruption on a grand scale. There obviously are no proper checks and balances or real accountability to ensure this corruption or greed does not happen. The American congregations are generally generous and I’m sure they are horrified at such wasteful spending of their money. This kind of self serving practice gives all clergy a bad name. The “true shepherds” imitate only one person, Jesus and glorify God alone, not mammon. “You cannot”, as Jesus said, “be a slave of 2 masters: You will either hate one and love the other…..” Sadly if any priest or bishop is caught up in money privileges of any kind which gives scandal to people, they should be asked to resign and if taken (stolen) from the common fund (meant for the good of all) or from money which is clearly designated for other purposes, then that person should face civil law. It has happened before. When funds seems quite comprehensive the temptation to abuse is always a possibility unless stringent procedures are in place. Thst this bishop seemed so reckless is unacceptable and it will undo any semblance of good works or initiatives he may have carried out. His behaviour is ethically wrong and morally unjustifiable outside his normal salary. Spiritually it is a contradiction of gospel living. Herein all clerics must be very circumspect and discerning where money is concerned.


‘Herein all clerics must be very circumspect and discerning where money is concerned.’? Your advice was tongue in cheek, wasn’t it?
Roman Catholic clerics, by definition, are corrupt. They will never, can never, self-police or self-reform; they must be crushed. One, very importatant instrument for this is a free, investigative Press, totally independent of institutional Roman Catholicism; Bishop Buckley’s blog is one part of this.
Never, ever, expect much from a Roman Catholic priest. ALWAYS distrust him, especially around children and young adults.
And be particularly careful of Roman Catholic priests who like to joke with kids, pull funny faces at them, are touchy-feely; it could be grooming masquerading as horseplay.
The parish priest in my neck of the woods is precisely this kind of man, and I have serious concerns about him, though no actual evidence of abuse.
Never, ever, trust any of these men.


1.41: Magna, if it makes you feel fulfilled in life and if it gives you a sense of meaning, then continue to pour forth your foul, stinking, putrid, hate speech. I am proud, despite all the challenges and crises, to be a PRIEST, a state denied to you because of a dangerous dysfunctionality, thankfully spotted by staff in the seminary, thus ensuring you were dumped out. You, Miss Hate Inciting Carta, are a monstrously vicious, unlikable and despicable piece of humanity. As for your advice to never let any child or adult be near a priest: that hate speech personified your d dysfunctionality and is outrageous – hate speech from a sub species of ahuman being. You desecrate your God through your vulgarity and hatred. We’ll pray for your redemption. I thank God each day for the gift of priesthood and for the many good priests I meet frequently and I thank God for all the opportunities given to us for making a significant difference to the lives of other and to the parish communities in which we live and work. That you were denied this grace is a hurt you carry deeply, from which, sadly, you seem unable to escape. Poor sod….



You can’t see the dazzling moral contradictions in your post, can you, priest?

You are just one further reason why Catholics need to be vigilant around people like you.



Anonymous priest at 1:36: on this occasion I agree with Magna’s highlighting the contradictions in your sanctimonious comment. The vitriol you dispense serves to portray you as the type of cleric who, in a former era, would piously torch the heretic tied to the stake.


Well, I don’t suppose bishops have much choice when it comes to clerical travelling companions; it’s either nancy-boys or nancy-men.


Quite so. It’s the odour of queerdom which hangs over the Catholic Church as a toxic miasma infiltrating everything everywhere. Let me be clear that I am not talking about happily integrated gays whose sexuality is rightly recognized as normative and nothing to make a fuss about, but the all-pervasive culture of a secret society. These days it’s hardly secret but we behave as if it were, viz. the announcement a few years back that gay men could not be admitted to the seminary! So as sheep we all enable both morally and financially a Church which in the USA especially routinely fires men and women as unfit for purpose because they are in the same kind of domestic set up as the Irish PM!


9.42: Pat, I’m sure your partner would not like to be referred to as a “lady!! Though I’ve watched many programmes on drag queens and I am revolted at the craziness of men dressing up and acting like “lady boys”…Is your partner like this? Just wondering since you say that every lord (you being one) must have a lady (boy) to travel with!!!


Watched the All Ireland final replay at Croker yesterday with family. Although sorry to see the Kingdom lose, we were delighted that there wasn’t a cleric to be seen in the presentation area of the Hogan stand. Formerly many of the “best” seats would be occupied by the clergy. “Changed times down south since the days we used to go” said my brother, and he wasn’t referring to Kerry being beaten.


I take your point about this bishop’s palace, but your cautionary note on the need for balance in the debate over
episcopal lifestyles is itself in need of cautioning: what has brought Archbishop Etienne and others (including Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who apologised for building for himself a mansion worth $2.2 million) was public outrage at the scandal Roman Catholic bishops are causing through gross and opulent living; conscience does not feature in their decisions, but the fear of public shaming does. These men can be tamed: they can be brought to heel.
This all reinforces the point I made earlier: Catholics must ever be vigilant where the Romanists are concerned. Their priesthood is corrupt and corrupting. There is, and never can be, any such thing as a truly good Roman Catholic priest; this priesthood as currently constituted naturally inclines them to self-service: to evil. Their feet must ever by held to the blazing fire of uncompromising public scrutiny.
Never, ever, trust these men.


You would say that M.C. It’s called sour grapes. Because of the vulgar excesses of your language, especially in the early hours, and the absence of balance on almost everything that appears here under your pseudonym, you have forfeited the right to be taken seriously on any subject.



So I have, according to you, forfeited the right to be taken seriously on any subject. Which is, oddly, why you took me seriously enough to compose, draft (and then redraft?) a comment, proof read it, and then post it.

Dear Sweet Lord! If humanity is lost, it is to common sense, and none other.😕


Pat, as it’s sunday I’ve popped in for my weekly catch up. You’ve obviously been on holiday, I hope you’re feeling refreshed. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a more meaningful conversation on today’s mass reading or some local common interest story as opposed to American gossip. That’s my thought for today.


4.07: Pat, if deleting some comments, why didn’t you date that poisonous, hate speech by Magna at 1.41? It’s an astonishing rant of hatred and you are continuing to facilitate Magna’s hate, though you promised many time not to print his scurrilous, nasty and dangerous comments and that of other equally vile commentators. Can you confirm if you agre with his comment or tell us why you are allowing this unacceptable hate speech?


Are you one of these priests?
I shouldn’t be surprised, because you lot love censorship; it has been the hallmark of institutional Roman Catholicism for generations.
Get used to public exposure, priest. The days are over when leeches like you controlled virtually everything, even where you could sit, in places of privilege, in restaurants and at football games.
And come to terms with the new reality, truth this time: you lot are, if not outrightly despised, utterly distrusted by the vast majority of Catholics.
Personally, I believe that a world rid of Roman Catholic priests should be a very agreeable one indeed, not least for the fact that a caste of indolent workshy freeloaders would leave hard-pressed families to spend their hard-earned money on themselves, instead of on the layabouts who have preyed on them and their children for far too long.
Good riddance to the lot of you!


5.05: Masterful Magna, the Supreme Hater, do you not get tired of repeating the same old mantra of your repetitive angst, hatred and discomfort? Is there anyone apart from the image in the mirror that you like? And that reflection must frighten you at times.


5.05: No Magna, I’m not one of “those priests”! I agree with the words of Jesus, ” the labourer deserves his wages”. It must grate on your sensitive, fragile little soul that priests are paid by those for whom they work and the many who avail of our compassionate ministries. Your raving hate speech should be censored. Criticism is acceptable when it doesn’t lead to bigotry, prejudice and hatred against others. Words are very potent when used in the destructive, hate inciting way you use them and which epitomizes your dysfunctionality. I may be one of “those” whom you hate. Could I care? Not an iota. I stand, with all my flaws and sins, as a human being first and foremost, before the God whom I try to serve and in the God of mercy. I fail to fathom the twisted, bitter and deep anger your every word represents. I suggest therapy as a remedy. As for being one of “those” despised ones for whom you have contempt, let me assure you, the words of Jesus, yet again, affirm me: “Blessed are you when people hate you, despise you, abuse you in account of my name….”! Despite all crises and scandals, and despite your contempt for priests who proclaim CHRIST and his GOSPEL, dear Margaret, you’ll never knock me to the ground with your hatred. Yes, your hate speech should be censored. Most definitely. Absolutely. Unequivocally. The Lord is my strength and refuge and I give thanks each day for the gift of priesthood and pray to be protected from your nasty, vicious poison of hate. This very day I attended a farewell celebration after 12 years before moving on to a new parish. Church was packed to capacity and it gave me an immense encouragement and a sense of great relevance. This fact will probably send you into an apocalyptic rage in the awareness that you too could have had such a moment of grace but for…..well, let’s just not go there! Sleep well in your hate.


Lol 6:06 definitely is one of those priests. Do many people die of boredom during your homilies?

And Magna… Will you marry me?


Yes, the labourer does indeed deserve his wages, but not indolent, workshy, freeloading, Roman Catholic priests; this has been my experience of most priests… nothing to do all day, except spend it in their rooms drinking, listening to music, napping after pleasant mid-morning ‘constitutionals’, or God-knows-what-else.
And no, priest, you are not paid by those for whom you work. First, you don’t actually work: you freeload; not quite the same thing. And people don’t pay you : they hand over money under duress, because your church tells them that they have a grave obligation to support financially the freeloading likes of you. Even the apostle Paul, who provided the rationale for this robbery-by-another-name, didn’t freeload on the communities he visited; instead, he had the decency to support himself by plying his trade as a tentmaker. Do any of you freeloaders follow his example? Like hell you do, you bone idle, human wastes of space!
And if you don’t care about my feelings on priests, you sure as hell have taken considerable trouble and time today to let me know this. 😀
As for hatred drawing God’s blessing… only if it is in his service. You freeloaders don’t serve him, but the institution you either vowed or promised to serve on the day of your ordination. You remember? The day you forsook Christ for a man in a mitre?
As for calling priesthood ‘gift’, this monumental conceit and self-delusion says, in one word, every thing about you freeloaders that a person needs to know: your continued clinging to a sense of specialness, of entitlement, of exceptionalism… in a word, ‘to the clericalism that is at the heart of priestly dysfunctionality, of corruption, of sexual perversion, of criminality’. Well done, priest: you’ve just confirmed about yourselves everything already widely known about the lot of you, including the fact that you haven’t changed in the slightest about how you perceive yourselves, even in the wake of sexual scandals described by some as constituting the greatest crisis in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.
Oh! I’ll gladly take up your suggestion of therapy… if it involves a very large broom and permission to sweep every freeloading priest off the planet. 😀


Magna, just one quibble – many of these priests do, in fact, erm, ‘make tents’!


7.41: What an utter waste of space you are Magna.You’re easily perturbed, upset and annoyed. Your behaviour us akin to that of a schoyard bully. But worse, your constant vulgar and sneering comments reveal a truly appalling, dangerous and worrying dysfunctionality. I hope you are never let loose on children or vulnerable people. The red light warning signals are there for all to see. Your pretend indignation and outrage is simply that – pretend! I doubt if you have any attractive quality that would qualify you for any caring profession. You fly into another sphere of ugly hatred when someone disagrees with you. Your hatred of priests is an almost incurable illness. It is becoming a horrible beast that is devouring any scintilla of humanity within you, if you have any. Again, rant away with your hate speech. I cannot but be thankful to God for the gift of priesthood and that he allows me wonderful, daily opportunities to proclaim his love and to make a difference to the lives of others, though I struggle and fail often. Your jealousy and unfathomable poison against priests is irrational, more a sign of your broken spirit, helped, sadly by your disconnect from good relationships and the bottles of gin. Magna, keep going this way and you’ll be in a deeper misery. Last thought: joy, peace and contentment come when you know you are doing something worthwhile for others and – God’s goodness to me, radiated through those I work with and for, as a PRIEST is a great blessing. I’m sad that your anger is now a cancer, ruining your inner peace. Perhaps a few quiet moments with the Lord might help….


7.41: No Magna darling, surely the therapy for you is the same as I wanted for your redemption too. Your mood swings and propensity for raging outbursts gave me cause for concern. But you were such a wee little teenage brat and bully that for peace I relented. Now I regret not having you strait jacjeked and brought for treatment. Your mumsy is sad and embarrassed with your petty jealousies against priests, considering you idolized them so much that you wanted to be one. But the audacious boldness in you was recognised as a potential danger to others and so you had to exit…Mumsy is still grieving that she never saw her lollipop son be ordained to the privilege and wonder of being a PRIEST. Anyway, my doors and windows are always open to receive you back and ready to embrace you with a big hug….up against my breast. Remember!! Oh for those glory days again when I felt such love…


Both that priest at 6:06pm AND “Magna Carta” are EQUALLY obnoxious. In fact they could very well both be the same joker.


7.41: Muss Carta, get a life. Your all wound up, cracked up and becoming increasingly demented. Quieten yourself down and don’t take life too seriously. Try and relax before you comment. You do yourself a great disservice in stopping to such trashy commentary. Forget your tormentors. Pray for them.


There you have it: the true state of the Catholic Church. However I dislike the tone of the article – though par for the course for The Spectator, which tends to unmarried Catholic gentlemen itself. It is to Bishop Bambera’s credit that he invited James Martin and tries to open the windows on an issue which is vitiating the Catholic Church from within. The marriage tribunal business is a bit much but hardly surprising any longer.


Truth is no need for such a tribunal.
I suspect that most couples know whether their marriages are legit in God’s eyes. So why allow some freeloading Romanist, with no practical experience of marriage (let alone YOUR experience), to make such a decision?
Tell them where to go. (And not to Connaught!)


I suppose we just have to bide one’s time till another scandal erupts at Gaynooth. Bound to be gay, that we can be sure of.


Evenin all hi. Sure the poor auld padres are entitled to their perks Sure what else have they with the life they have but. The labourer deserves the wage so be realistic but. This over the top ego feeding at the cost of ordinary folk is wrong. Little fekrs like zacchaeus . Off thauld tree lads and live on the ground hi


M.C.’s contributions scrape the bottom of the barrel in terms of coherence, truth, justice and charity. It’s likely he assumes his comments won’t be responded to, and therefore that he’ll be denied the attention he craves, unless he resorts to shouting abuse in the way he chooses to.


Magna’s comment @10:32 was right and pertinent. The idea of going before some bloody panel is typically offensive to the laity who cannot be trusted to decide for themselves.


10.00: I think you may be right. Those who follow this blog will discover that Magna assumes different modes and personae and often responds to his own comments, the “Magna’s Mumsy” being an example. It is also very easy to tempt Magna into silly and obnoxious rage. He falls for commentators who know how to wind him up. Because he has such contempt for clergy, some commentators pretend they’re clerics and run amok in teasing Magna. It all becomes very tiresome and boring when insults are traded back and forth. In my view there are only a handful of clerics who’d be bothered with this blog. It’s the disgruntled ones mostly who let go on this blog. But, Magna and other silly posters should be edited by Pat. Their repetitive tirades are crazy.


There is a process happening. Eamon did something very wrong to me recently. I want to give him the chance to do the right thing. I have written to his bishop and family.


Intriguing as this might be, don’t hold your breath. Bishop Pat’s comments on Fr Eamonn Murray last week have all been taken down. It’s the usual filthy sex and gay priest shite.


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