Two retired US bishops restricted from exercising ministry

One of them, Bishop Gordon Bennett, S.J., reportedly moved to California in 2006 “for medical assessment and treatment for fatigue and depression”

Bishop Gordon D. Bennett, S.J. was born in Denver, Colorado, and raised in Los Angeles, California. He served for many years in high school administration, including terms as Principal and President of Loyola High School in Los Angeles. He was also Rector and Master of Novices for the Jesuit Novitiate in Santa Barbara for six years. (image from loyolainstitute.org)

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore announced on Monday restrictions on the ministry of both retired West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield and retired Bishop Gordon Bennett, S.J.

The restrictions against Bransfield are the result of a months-long preliminary investigation conducted by Lori, into allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, as well as financial improprieties.

“Pending the assessment of the findings of the Holy See, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, I have directed that Bishop Bransfield is not authorized to exercise any priestly or episcopal ministry either within the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston or within the Archdiocese of Baltimore,” Lori said in a March 11 press release.

The archdiocese also announced in the release that “similar restrictions were warranted” concerning former Archdiocese of Baltimore auxiliary Bishop Gordon Bennett, S.J. Bennett was an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese from 1998 until 2004, when he became the bishop of Mandeville, Jamaica. He retired, reportedly due to health reasons, just two years later in August 2006, at the age of 60. The ordinary retirement age for bishops is 75.

Lori’s press release revealed that in May 2006, the archdiocese received an allegation of “sexual harassment of a young adult” by Bennett, which it reported to the apostolic nunciature. The bishop resigned from his Jamaican diocese three months later.

Upon the announcement of Bennett’s retirement, Fr. John P. McCarry, S.J., provincial of the Jesuit California province, informed province members that Bennett would be moving to California “for medical assessment and treatment for fatigue and depression.” Bennett is a member of the Jesuit California province.

Full story at Catholic News Agency.

Comments

  1. I hope both Bishops had an opportunity to present a defense. If so then this seems to be a step in the correct direction.

  2. Anonymous says

    This stuff is always covered up, hidden, until it’s so old news that it doesn’t matter anymore. Like with McCarrick. The hierarchy has become pathetic.

  3. Anonymous says

    Guess the sexual disorientation.

  4. Manuel Lopez says

    This demonstrates tremendous further progress in how the church is addressing this issue. Just a few years ago the situation would have been kept hidden. We now have seen the former Cardinal archbishop of DC thrown out of the priesthood, a Cardinal in Australia put in prison, a bishop in France could guilty in court for covering up abuse and now this.

  5. Anonymous says

    Cardinal Pell just got sentenced to six years in prison! There are also accusations that he committed sex crimes as a priest, in Ballarat– long before his elevation to the episcipacy. But no trial will be held, for those accusations. It sounds right now, like this case is very similar to former Cdl. McCarrick. But there is also some evidence– that his trial was false. I’d like the truth!

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