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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Good News from Wheeling: Three Bransfield Enablers Resign from Chancery! Bad News: Two Get Parishes!


Frederick Annie       Anthony Cincinnati        Kevin Quirk
Three "my Lords", Quirk, Annie, and Cincinnati have resigned from their Church leadership positions at the chancery after a Vatican report that found them complicit in enabling harassing and abusive behavior by Bishop Michael Bransfield.

No reason was given for the resignations, but Nabi wrote often about them and the people of Wheeling know they were all enablers (and beneficiaries one presumes) of Bransfield's gratitude for their silence. Annie bought the booze to the tune of tens of thousands of diocesan money. He lived with Bransfield which leads one to wonder whether he was the bishop's drinking buddy. 

Unfortunately, two of these men, Annie and Cincinnati, are getting local parishes. They better have good finance councils in place is all I can say. The poor people of Wheeling have suffered enough. I hope they refuse to bankroll these men.

Three priests accused of enabling W.Va. bishop’s ‘predatory and harassing conduct’ resign (Washington Post)

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, seen in 2015. (Scott McCloskey/Intelligencer/AP)

June 10 at 8:23 PM


Three high-ranking priests who allegedly enabled “predatory and harassing conduct” by Bishop Michael J. Bransfield when he was leader of the Catholic Church in West Virginia have resigned from their leadership posts, church officials announced Monday.

A statement from Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore gave no reason for the resignations. But the three monsignors — Frederick Annie, Anthony Cincinnati and Kevin Quirk — are central figures in a scandal over alleged sexual and financial misconduct by Bransfield, according to a confidential report described in a Washington Post story last week.
The report by five lay Catholics was completed and submitted to the Vatican in February. Lori’s statement said Annie resigned in September, around the time the Vatican launched its investigation. Quirk and Cincinnati resigned on Monday, Lori said.

The confidential report had recommended their removal.

“By failing to take any action, the Chancery Monsignors enabled the predatory and harassing conduct of Bishop Bransfield, and allowed him to recklessly spend Diocesan funds for his own personal use,” the report states.

Annie, Cincinnati and Quirk did not respond to requests for interviews or comment.
The report alleges that Bransfield spent $2.4 million in church money on travel, including chartered jets, and that he and his aides spent nearly $1,000 a month on alcohol, among many other personal luxuries.

Citing church financial documents, The Post reported that Bransfield also gave cash gifts totaling $350,000 to fellow clergymen over his 13 years at the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, including young priests he is accused of mistreating and more than a dozen cardinals in the United States and at the Vatican. The church reimbursed him by boosting his compensation, the records show.

Bransfield has denied the allegations, telling The Post in a brief interview last week that “none of it is true” and that critics are “trying to destroy my reputation.”

After the publication of The Post’s report, a Vatican cardinal and at least nine other clerics pledged to return money that they received as personal gifts from Bransfield to the diocese, saying they did not know that it was church money.

Lori, the acting leader of the West Virginia diocese, is among those who received cash gifts from Bransfield and pledged to return the money.

On Friday, Lori said in an interview that he did not have the authority to make personnel changes recommended by the confidential report. “That will be for the next bishop,” Lori told The Post.

Tim Bishop, a spokesman for the West Virginia diocese, said that the personnel changes announced Monday were unusual but that Lori “feels the need to set the stage for the next bishop.”

Annie and Cincinnati will become pastors in local parishes. Quirk, who also stepped down from the board of Wheeling Jesuit University and a church-owned hospital, will take on an administrative role.

Annie and Quirk told investigators there were few options for raising concerns about Bransfield, the report says. Cincinnati said he did not witness sexual harassment.
Bransfield became bishop of the diocese in 2005, taking the helm in one of the nation’s poorest states. Over more than a decade, while he was spending lavishly on himself and sending checks to other clerics, he sexually harassed young priests by touching or hugging them or by making sexually provocative remarks, according to the report.

Seminarians or young priests appealed to leaders in the diocese, to no avail, the report says. They were instructed to “make your boundaries clear,” it says, or told that they had no choice but to join Bransfield in such activities as sleepovers at his residence and on trips.
According to the report, Quirk, Bransfield’s judicial vicar, told a young priest who complained about Bransfield’s routine invitations to visit him at his home: “Your presence is required.”
Church investigators said that Annie was responsible for spending tens of thousands of dollars in church funds on alcohol at Bransfield’s behest, the report said. Annie lived in the same residence as Bransfield.

The vicars failed to act out of a combination of fear, loyalty and self-interest, the report concluded.

“Despite witnessing multiple instances of harassing and abusive behavior over several years, none of the Vicars took action to address Bishop Bransfield’s behavior,” the report said.

9 comments:

Unknown said...

And, the two parishes are large and in one of the few areas of growth in the state, with great influence over young people due to the major state university being located there. Officially, this is Annie's assignment: "assistant priest of St. Mary Parish in Star City with occasional residence at the parish rectory." However, effectively, Annie is running the parish and parishioners assume he will be made pastor. The current pastor, very much of the same ilk as Annie, is in poor health. Cincinnati is pastor of a very large, wealthy parish in the same town, and has been for about 5 years. However, when he was first assigned, he spent most of the weekdays up in Wheeling, yet claims he knew nothing. Very hard to believe, and his homily last weekend was filled with improbable excuses. Please pray that the new bishop will be wise, holy, and orthodox, as the Catholics of WV have suffered terribly under the previous leaders. Then, maybe they can finish out their "careers" in prayer and penance to make reparation for the damage they have inflicted.

coco2 said...

Too bad they didn't do what the investigators suggested. We don't need priests like these in the Diocese.

Srd said...

Absolutely correct!!!

Monsignor Rottweiler (priest-alias) said...

By keeping these "clowns" in the public light maybe they can come to their senses. I would imagine the laity at these churches must feel pretty uncomfortable. Although, they have "played the game" for all these years Annie and Cincinnati have probably been able to put a "spin on things" so they don't look guilty. Quite a slap for Quirk to be in small parishes as a "fill in." Hopefully the numbers of people attending do not drop significantly but I'm sure the money will. Cincinnati should have been moved out of his "kingdom" and put somewhere small where he could really think about his actions. The Archbishop could have easily moved him. There were other assignments made that he signed the letter. Whenever the diocese does get someone who is desperate enough to accept the assignement, the new bishop can make whatever moves he desires. The problem is will there be people to move and what area to concentrate on first? The way the Archbishop has handled this so far will keep him in Baltimore. No "red hat" for him unless he is one of "Frank's boys." Would love to be in Baltimore for the USCCB meeting as a "fly on the wall" to hear what the lavender mafia are spinning.

Luke said...

I remember reading a story about St. Francis of Assisi.

St. Francis was not a Priest.

Someone told him of a Priest who was living with a woman as if she were his wife. People wanted Francis to go to the Priest and condemn him. Francis went to the Priest, knelt in front of him, kissed his hands and said, "All I know is that these are the hands that bring me Christ." And the Priest reformed his life.

Heartbroken said...

These words are exact words from Monsgr Quirk to me when I proposed my disgust with the behavior of the Bishop. This was what he said in February to me and I quote!
The scandalous and destructive behaviors of clergy, which has affected us all and demoralized so many, I agree with you that these things are nauseating and more than disheartening. Indeed, as a priest, I can tell you that they wound my very soul and have caused me to be tempted with despair. This temptation is only increased when individuals use the actions of such sinful and despicable clerics as a means to shame priests who are merely trying to be faithful to the Church’s laws or as an excuse to get what they want. As Judicial Vicar, I am routinely subject to this behavior and am becoming inured to it: yes, there have been pedophiles among the clergy and yes some bishops and dioceses failed to enforce the Church’s man made laws which make such behavior a canonical crime subject to clear penalties; however, that does not entitle one to an annulment, or anything else, etc..
Now what does he have to say?
Again let’s just move them around instead of consequences! Fed Up!

Biagio said...

The three "tenors" pranced around Wheeling like princes and they enabled a gross miscarriage of our religion by Devil Bransfield, but what will now happen? We obviously have a high level of mistrust for all of our clergy. Compound this with the fact there is not a bishop that can or will restore the faith of this destroyed diocese! Life as a catholic in this country of freedom is now difficult to practice because of our corrupted clergy and a peronist pope.

Anonymous said...

What about the people who worked close to the bishop in the office? Those people are not innocent either and why are there no criminal charges against the priests and bishop?

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I agree, Anonymous. There are many who were complicit in the cover-up. Proving it is another thing.