From the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston website Thursday morning, a letter from Bishop Mark Brennan:
I wish to announce to the faithful people of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston that the Congregation for Bishops in Rome has reached a decision on how former Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Michael J. Bransfield should fulfill Pope Francis’ requirement that the Bishop “make personal amends for some of the harm he caused” while serving in this Diocese. This decision comes after extensive input from me, as the representative of the Catholic people of the Diocese, and with consideration of governing factors in both civil and canon law.
First, Bishop Bransfield has been told to make a public apology to the people of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese for the scandal he created. He is urged as well to apologize privately to certain individuals who reported abuse and harassment. We have received his letter of apology to the Diocese, which is being made public on our diocesan website, and are aware that some individuals have received a letter from the Bishop.
Second, Bishop Bransfield is required to repay the Diocese of WheelingCharleston the amount of $441,000 for unauthorized benefits received from diocesan resources. The Bishop has paid the Diocese that amount. These funds will be added to those already set aside by the sale of his former residence for assistance to victims of abuse. The Bishop has already complied with the Diocese’s demand that he purchase, at fair market value, the diocesan vehicle he has been using in retirement.
Third, Bishop Bransfield will receive $2,250 per month as his retirement stipend, adjusted for inflation, the amount recommended by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for retired bishops. However, no other benefits, such as for a secretary or travel, will be provided. This is in accord with the discretion that I have, as the current diocesan Bishop, according to the same USCCB guidelines, to reduce or eliminate additional benefits for a predecessor who did not retire in good standing. Thus, Bishop Bransfield’s stipend will be about one-third of the full package of $6,200 ordinarily given to a retired bishop. He will continue to be covered by the health insurance plan for priests of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese, which will pay his modest long-term care insurance premium.
Also on the website: this letter from Bishop Bransfield, addressed to the faithful of the diocese, dated August 15: