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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Will Huge Church Financial Scandals be Next?

In view of the on-going scandals in Wheeling with disgraced Bishop Michael Bransfield, one can expect the answer is a resounding YES. I was told years ago by a priest friend on the West Coast that a papal financial advisor privy to inside information was predicting the next huge scandal would be over the money. There is too much money and too little accountability. Rod Dreher recently weighed in on the Bransfield scandal here based on the Washington Post's expose. Here's a bit of his commentary:

It’s incredible what this bishop is alleged by the Church’s own investigators to have done (he denies it). Bransfield was for years the rector of the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and had a reputation — deserved or not — for homosexuality and high living. His downfall as a bishop came when younger priests in West Virginia began complaining that he was sexually harassing them....
You will not be surprised to learn that Bransfield was close to former Cardinal Ted McCarrick and his successor as cardinal archbishop of Washington, Donald Wuerl. In fact, Bishop Bransfield was head of the Papal Foundation, a private charity co-founded by McCarrick to raise money from wealthy American Catholics to send to Rome for the Pope’s charitable use. In First Things this past spring, Matthew O’Brien reported on how Cardinal Wuerl and other prelates on the foundation manipulated the lay members of the board to wangle a massive grant to Rome that may have violated US tax laws. Last fall, O’Brien reported on how McCarrick may have used the Papal Foundation as a slush fund to buy influence in Rome. It’s becoming clearer that Ted McCarrick was at the nexus of the Catholic hierarchy’s sexual and financial corruption, and abuse. It appears that lay Catholics involved with the Papal Foundation finally got tired of having their pockets picked by these episcopal sybarites to pay for their lush lives and career advancement. 
Bishop Bransfield, who was one of the most important members of the Foundation’s leadership, paid for his luxurious life in one of America’s poorest states — where only four percent of the population is Catholic — by drawing on a small fortune in Texas oil money left to the diocese by an heiress. He was shameless in his spending — and the diocese’s finance board, which was supposed to be overseeing it, was “extremely passive” according to the Church’s internal investigation. West Virginia has so much poverty and suffering, but its bishop spent money that wasn’t his to ingratiate himself with high church officials, to buy jewelry, purchasing massive amounts of booze (the report alleges that he was a drunk and a pillhead), fresh flower deliveries daily, and basically carousing and hitting on priests and seminarians.
Wuerl pushed through the $25 million gift to a sandal-ridden
Roman hospital at the insistence of Pope Francis!
I look forward to the investigation of the Papal Foundation. My own bishop, Michael Burbidge was the secretary to the Board of Trustees when Bransfield was President and Donald Wuerl was Chairman of the Board with McCarrick as a board member (as well as a few other bishops notorious for their dissent). Recent articles about the Foundation and the scandalous $25 million gift to a dermatology hospital with a bad reputation make one wonder whether the Foundation was nothing more than a money-laundering scheme. You can read more about the Foundation in Rod Dreher's article, Sex, Money, Clerialism, and the Papal Foundation. 

Please, folks, don't let the scandals shake your faith. Jesus Christ had a Judas in His ranks and he only had twelve priests. How many Judases can we expect in a Church with hundreds of thousands of bishops, priests, deacons, and consecrated religious? Jesus Christ is on the cross today just as He was 2000 years ago. Many in the crowd screaming, "Crucify Him!" are wearing roman collars. Pray for them, pray for Holy Mother Church, and don't be a deserter from the battlefield. Stay and fight with the Sacraments, the rosary and other devotions, the truth, and the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. And remember, we have an all-powerful King as our Commander-in-chief and a Queen who's a twelve star general urging on the trooops. Let's listen to her battle plan of prayer and penance and follow her field command!


elpine flower said...

Nuzzi's book was eye opening.
i have no doubt Rod Dreher read it too.

Monsignor Rottweiler (priest-alias) said...

And to think that we thought that we were so close to getting past this scandal and welcoming a new bishop. Wow! I believe we are only seeing the beginning of the floodgates opening in WV. Will the black Suburbans with tinted windows and many agents be seen descending upon the chancery and carrying out boxes of documents and bags of shredded material in the next week? Will the people of WV ever find out "the truth and the whole truth" if Bransfield will ever be required to make full restitution. Were was the Diocesan Finance Council and the CFO, Bill Fisher who is now (conveniently) retired. How about Annie, Quirk and Cincinnati? Didn't they do too little too late? What man would want to accept the assignment and come here as the next bishop? The clergy are divided and angry and the laity are suffering looking and praying for healing. Is an end in sight or are there more surprises to come? Come Lord Jesus!

Chriss Rainey said...

Nuzzi's book? Which one? I just loaded the one titlted Ratzinger Was Afraid on my Kindle. You can "peek inside" and read introduction online.

If you have not followed any of the history of money and the Vatican even the facts in the introduction may confuse some to the point of disbelief, but IF you have read God's Bankers and the history of Opus Dei from unbiased sources, it makes perfect sense.

Money scandal is right, Mary Ann. If the world only knew!

elpine flower said...

"Merchants in the Temple" by Gianluigi Nuzzi

The book led me to other research including the Monsinore nicknamed "Jessica" who was part of the Dicastery for APSA bank in Vatican City. He was the personal Secretary of Cdl Poletti of the P2 Lodge ,who was close to Escriva and had Pope JP2 donate the Basilica of St Appolinaire in Rome donated to Opus Dei. Poletti gave permission for the Magliani mafia boss to be reintured in the crypt of the same basilica despite the outcries from Rome's catholics that the crypt was for Popes and saints. The same was reopened by the Italian police in 2012 in search of evidence in the Vatican employees daughters kidnapping . Her remains were not found but the mobster was again moved back to the regular cemetary and it was alleged Poletti rec'd a nice sum of money to allow the mobster's remains to be placed in the crypt.

I followed the kidnappings of Emmanuela Orlandi and another young girl from Rome for many years and there are quite a number of Italian Catholics who are sympathetic to the families who are still looking for answers.Pietro Orlandi has indicated his own suspicions about Opus Dei as his sister was last seen across the street from the basilica and allegedly a tunnel from the music school across the street connects to the basilica which has since been blocked off.Quite a mystery and many are looking for answers.