Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield; Archbishop Lori Instructed to Conduct Investigation into Allegations of Sexual Harassment
September 13: WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop William E. Lori as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. He will remain Archbishop of Baltimore. The Holy Father has additionally instructed Archbishop Lori to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield.
The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, September 13, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop Bransfield was born September 8, 1943, in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1971, where he earned a master’s in Divinity. He also earned his Master’s in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America.
He was ordained to the priesthood on May 15, 1971 by Cardinal John Krol for service in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Assignments after ordination included: teacher, chaplain, and Chairman of the Religion Department at Lansdale Catholic High School. In 1980, Bishop Bransfield went on to serve as Assistant Director and Director of Liturgy, Director of Finance, and then Rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (1990).
On December 9, 2004, Pope Saint John Paul II appointed Bishop Bransfield the eighth Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. He was ordained a bishop on February 22, 2005.
Bishop Bransfield served as a member of the Communications Committee, the National Collections Committee, and Treasurer of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is comprised of 24,282 square miles in the state of West Virginia and has a total population of 1,844,128 of which 77,874 or 4 percent, are Catholic.