Hopefully you either subscribe to the Washington Post or you haven’t yet this month used up your free visits. Because the paper broke a big story about an out-of-control Catholic bishop in West Virginia. Dude spent a lot of money getting drunk and buying jewelry. Oh, and Michael Bransfield sexually harassed other men. And handed them cash. It was all fueled by revenue from mineral rights generated by land in West Texas. Some highlights from the story:
Another said Bransfield let him drink alcohol before he was legally of age, exposed himself, pulled the young man against him and ran his hands over the seminarian’s genitals. … Throughout his tenure, Bransfield abused alcohol, oxycodone and other prescription drugs, which “likely contributed to his harassing and abusive behavior,” the report says. … During his 13 years as bishop in West Virginia, one of the poorest states in the nation, Bransfield spent $2.4 million in church money on travel, much of it personal, which included flying in chartered jets and staying in luxury hotels, according to the report.
And what does this have to do with Dallas? Kevin Farrell was the previous bishop of the Dallas Diocese (he left in 2016). By all accounts, he is a good man who cleaned up the mess that his predecessor, Charles Grahmann, left behind. However, the Post story notes this about Farrell, who now works at the Vatican:
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, a high-ranking Vatican official who served for years in the District, received two checks totaling $29,000 for expenses related to an apartment in Rome, documents show. … A Vatican spokesman confirmed that Farrell received “voluntary donations” from Bransfield and others for the renovation of his apartment in the Vatican and said that Bransfield “received nothing in exchange.”
I don’t know how this normally works. Do Catholic bishops often hand each other tens of thousands of dollars? Not sure. But it’s a bad look. That’s all I’ll say.