|The mosaic of Jesus Christ|
as Judge looms over Bishop
Michael Bransfield at the
Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate
Conception in Washington, D.C.
39 “And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it [on] the last day.”
Our Lord Jesus came to save the world. But because He respects our freedom of will, He loves us first and then gives up the freedom to respond to His love.
Throughout the Lenten season, we Catholics hear the words of John the Baptist and our Lord Himself say to us over and over: “Repent”.
Nabi Sayeth: After a significant conversation with a loyal priest in West Virginia, my heart was heavy with what he shared with me about FORMER bishop Bransfield….
“In the spring of 2014 I began to hear the Lord speak powerfully yet painfully to my heart. He was calling me to preach repentance to Bishop Bransfield. How was it powerful? It was constant and consistent. Whether I was at morning prayer, Mass or any other prayer time during the day, the message was the same and clear: ‘Go, preach repentance to bishop Bransfield. I want his soul to be saved.’ I tried to rationalize it all...You know, ‘You’re tired, you need a break….It’s your ego getting in the way...Who are you to think you could preach repentance to a Catholic Bishop’…..But every time I tried to bat away the Lord’s call, it kept coming back to me. He just wouldn’t stop! Then came the day I had to pick up the phone to call the bishop’s secretary to set up the meeting...The palms of my hands were like shower heads….I was perspiring profusely, my heart racing and I was breathing rapidly. The secretary was kind and professional. Once the date and place were set I calmed down. I went back to prayer and up to the time of our meeting I was calm and at peace. We met at an unoccupied meeting room at a Catholic hospital. I arrived almost an hour early. And the most amazing thing happened, rather than fumble with thoughts of the right words, the Lord gave me a true Peace, as He once said, “A Peace the world cannot give.”
“Bishop Bransfield arrived right on time and after an exchange of pleasantries, I began my speech. I told him I had been called to preach repentance to him. He gave me a blank look. I first took him to task for his extravagant lifestyle. As I spoke about his personal chef, his reserved table and wine rack at the Chop House restaurant, his many first-class flights to Rome, he began to chuckle, smirk and blow me off pointing out that other leaders did the same things. But I retorted, ‘Bishop, you are hurting the people. You live an extravagant lifestyle in the poorest state in the country! Everyone throughout the state, Catholics and non-Catholics alike are aware of this. YOU MUST REPENT AND CHANGE, bishop!’
“I then took him to task for the reports of his sexual abuse of teen boys. He leaned forward and snorted something to the effect that he had been cleared by witnesses who said he had not abused teen boys. I responded that the only thing that saved him was the expiration of the statutes of limitations, that I knew he was guilty of the sin. I then said, ‘bishop you MUST repent before it is too late!’
At this point he became enraged. But I repeated myself, ‘Bishop, PLEASE REPENT!’
He pushed his seat back from the table and began screaming at me about my ‘disobedience’. He walked up to me, pointed his finger at me and said, ‘YOU need to go to confession!’ And with that statement he stormed out of the room.”
“What amazed me about it all...I remained incredibly calm. No anger, no upset, just plain calm. I thought as I was leaving the hospital, ‘How could I remain so calm after doing something that years earlier would have scared the daylights out of me?’ Then it dawned on me...I was called by the Lord to preach repentance. That was my mission. The outcome was not my concern. It was not about success or failure for ME. The outcome was between bishop Bransfield and the Lord. I did what I had been called to do: Preach Repentance, no more, no less.”
Nabi Sayeth: Such was the case with the Prophets of the Old Testament. They were all called to the mission of,preaching repentance to the corrupt leadership of their day. They did what they were called to do and left the outcome up to the Lord Who had called them to do His work. Period.
Will bishop Bransfield ever repent? I do believe the Lord continues to call him to do so:
Through the negative media reports about his lustful behavior;
Through the accusations of the young priests who accused him of sexual harassment;
Through the words of the investigative reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bill Bender;
Through the many stories of corruption and cover up yet to be revealed after completion of the investigations now being undertaken by states attorneys general and the FBI.
And while civil and canonical lawyers, and even his religious superiors may assist him in escaping legal liability, his soul can never escape the reach of the Divine and Just Judge to Whom he must give an accounting after he takes his last breath...May God have mercy on his soul….