He denies anything scandalous was happening. The gifts weren’t excessive, he says.
[KNA] The US Cardinal and former Chief of the Vatican Supreme Court, Raymond Leo Burke, has defended himself for receiving bishop's money. The donations he received from Bishop William Bransfield, Bishop of the US Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, were either royalties for meetings with priests' groups of visitors or Christmas presents, and possibly also a gift on his being named Cardinal, Burke said in a written statement Tuesday evening (local time). According to his memory, these were generous but "not wasteful" sums.
According to a research by the Washington Post, Bransfield is said to have spent a total of US $350,000 on gifts of funds to ministers during his term of office from 2005 to September 2018, according to a Vatican investigation report. Among the beneficiaries, according to the report, were also young priests whom he allegedly molested. According to the newspaper, Bransfield transferred the funds from his private account, but later had them reimbursed by the diocese.
"Never had a reason to suspect"
Cardinal Burke emphasized that at the time, as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, he never accepted a check from someone who had a case before the court. "In the case of Bishop Bransfield's gifts, I never had a reason to suspect that anything was wrong," Burke explained.
The beneficiaries of Bransfield included Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who led the investigations against Bransfield. According to the newspaper, Lori admitted that they had received $7,500 in gifts and $ 3,000 as expenses for two Masses in the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese.
The Vatican announced the retreat of Bishop Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in September. Bransfield was suspended following his age-related resignation and may not perform any priestly or episcopal duties. Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Lori as interim leader, charged with investigating allegations against the emeritus bishop. The month-long preliminary investigations were led by Lori, according to his archdiocese with the help of a team of five lay experts. The results were sent to Rome in March. Lori’s investigation corresponds to a scheme enacted in January by the Archdiocese of Baltimore for dealing with abuse accusations against bishops. (Cph / KNA)
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