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.