Homosexual Bishop Funneled Millions From Hospital for Gifts, Personal Use

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by Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  October 28, 2019   

Vatican Cdl. Kevin Farrell and others benefited from Bp. Bransfield's largesse

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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - A disgraced homosexual bishop diverted millions of dollars from a hospital into his charity, used to send cash gifts to others — including a top Vatican cardinal who received nearly $30,000.

$21 Million Funneled From Hospital

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Bp. Michael Bransfield

An exposé published in The Washington Post Saturday reveals that Bp. Michael Bransfield, formerly of the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in W. Virginia, sent two checks of $14,000 and $15,000 each to Cdl. Kevin Farrell, head of the Vatican's Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

His reasons were to help furnish his Rome apartment.

"I fixed that room up for him," Bransfield told The Washington Post.

Farrell was among 130 clergy who benefited from the bishop's largesse, totaling $350,000 in cash gifts.

The news outfit's investigation revealed that Farrell's money derived from $21 million diverted from Wheeling Hospital, which is owned by the diocese, to a charity founded by Bransfield in 2014, called the Bishop's Fund. Bransfield served at the time as chairman of the hospital board.

Emails reveal that Bryan Minor, a hospital board member and diocesan director of human resources, arranged the transfers of money from the Bishop's Fund into Bransfield's personal bank account, for use as gifts to others.

Bransfield remains unapologetic, justifying his checks to Farrell as 'funds that I had raised.'

"Hey there," begins an email dated May 12, 2017. "Just a note that I need to order a check from The Bishop's Fund, payable to DWC [Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston], to cover a check as a gift to Abp Kevin Farrell at the Vatican."

A total of $321,000 of Bishop's Fund money was sent by Bransfield out of West Virginia, in spite of the charity's purpose as being "to provide for the pastoral care of the diocese" and the "charitable care of the people of the diocese."

Bransfield remains unapologetic, justifying his checks to Farrell as "funds that I had raised," and refusing to answer other questions by The Washington Post.

While Minor claims the transfers to Bransfield's personal bank account were legal, at least two members of Wheeling Hospital's board say they don't remember ever approving such large transfers of money.

The Department of Justice has been conducting an ongoing investigation into Bransfield's spending "as part of a lawsuit that accuses the hospital of defrauding the federal government of millions of dollars by filing false claims for Medicare reimbursement."

The hospital denies any wrongdoing.

Tax filings and hospital audits show that a total of $21 million were funneled from Wheeling Hospital through the diocese or various non-profits, eventually to wind up in the Bishop's Fund, and a chunk of it ultimately landing in Bransfield's own bank account.

The transfers were a deliberate attempt to get around the Internal Revenue Service.

The transfers were a deliberate attempt to get around the Internal Revenue Service, whose files show that the Bishop's Fund was to be used exclusively to helping those in need in W. Virginia. 

"I thought that was legal and, according to accounting, that we could make a grant to the diocese and that the diocese could make a grant as a pass-through to a Catholic entity," Minor said.

Among beneficiaries of the Bishop's Fund was the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which received $60,000 for renovation work on its dome. 

Bransfield was former rector of the Shrine, handpicked by Theodore McCarrick, whose successor, Msgr. Walter Rossi — also handpicked by McCarrick — is currently under investigation by two dioceses for complaints of homosexual misconduct and harassment.

Cdl. Kevin Farrell Linked to Theodore McCarrick

Farrell, who left Dallas in 2016 when Pope Francis appointed him to head the Vatican's Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, lived on the same floor for six years with housemate Abp. Theodore McCarrick, now laicized after being exposed as a serial homosexual predator.

Farrell was widely mocked by Catholics after he told Catholic News Service he had been "shocked" last year on hearing the allegations against McCarrick.

"I was shocked, overwhelmed; I never heard any of this before, the six years I was there with him," Farrell claimed. "And never, no indication, none whatsoever, nobody ever talked to me about that."


 

Farrell was appointed to a key Vatican role last year by Pope Francis, who named Farrell Cardinal Camerlengo, a central position that involves formally pronouncing the end of a pope's reign and directing preparations for the conclave. The camerlengo becomes the de facto ruling sovereign of the Church until a new pontiff is elected. During such time he serves as executive director of the Holy See, and answers to the College of Cardinals.

As a member of the papal household, the camerlengo also oversees the real estate and revenue of the Holy See. 

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Cdl. Kevin Farrell stands between

Cdl. Donald Wuerl (L) and Msgr. Walter Rossi (R)

According to a new apostolic constitution issued by the pontiff this summer, the camerlengo position will be handed over to Cdl. Reinhard Marx, president of the German Bishops' Conference.

Farrell left Dallas in 2016 when Pope Francis appointed him to head the Vatican dicastery. Befo lived on the same floor for six years with housemate Abp. Theodore McCarrick, now laicized after being exposed as a serial homosexual predator.

He was widely mocked by Catholics after he told Catholic News Service he had been "shocked" last year on hearing the allegations against McCarrick.

"I was shocked, overwhelmed; I never heard any of this before, the six years I was there with him," Farrell claimed. "And never, no indication, none whatsoever, nobody ever talked to me about that."

Farrell had issued similar denials when asked about the predatory behavior of Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, of which Farrell was a member. Maciel was later exposed as a serial sex abuser who fathered children with multiple women and even raped his own sons.

"I never knew anything back then," he told the Irish Times in 2016. "I worked in Monterrey, and maybe I would have met Maciel once or twice, but I never suspected anything. ... I left the Legionaries because I had intellectual differences with them."

But one longtime friend and former Legionary is contradicting his words. J. Paul Lennon, among the first group of Irish-born members of the Legion and close friend of Farrell's brother Brian (a former Legionary who now works as secretary for the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity), claims Farrell was far closer to Maciel than he lets on.

"Kevin did know Fr. Maciel on a personal basis," Lennon told Church Militant. "When Kevin was working in Connecticut as a Legionary priest, before he left the community circa 1984, Kevin did spend time with Fr. Maciel when he would visit that 'front.'"

"I have been told that on at least one occasion Kevin and other Legionaries participated in a pillow fight to entertain Fr. Maciel (the sex pervert)," he added.

Viganò: Bransfield Perfect Example of 'Corrupt Gay Mafia'

"Bishop Bransfield is a perfect example of what I was referring to," Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò said in remarks published by Vaticanista Marco Tosatti, referring to a "corrupt gay mafia" running the Church.

Bransfield was suspended last fall after allegations of homosexual misconduct and financial misdealings. A detailed Vatican investigation revealed that Bransfield harassed and assaulted seminarians and priests, and also misappropriated millions of dollars in diocesan funds for personal expenses, including thousands spent on alcohol, flowers, flying first class and sending cash gifts to fellow prelates.

"It is important to note that, before being appointed bishop, he was rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. and was president of the [Board of Trustees] of the Papal Foundation, both linked to McCarrick and Cardinal Wuerl," Viganò explained. 

Abp. Viganò: 'Bishop Bransfield is a perfect example of what I was referring to.'

The Papal Foundation, with assets worth $206 million, was co-founded by McCarrick in 1988, Bransfield serving as the first president of its board of trustees.

Controversy engulfed the Pennsylvania charity when three stewards resigned from the audit committee in 2018 after Wuerl pushed for the Vatican to receive $25 million — the largest single grant ever given by the foundation. The money was going toward the Istituto Dermopatico Dell'Immacolata (IDI), a scandal-ridden hospital in Rome investigated and indicted by Italian authorities for embezzlement and tax fraud of nearly a billion euros.

The Vatican investigation revealed that Bransfield had sent $350,000 in cash gifts to various cardinals and bishops, including $10,500 to Abp. William Lori — the very man appointed to carry out the investigation. Other beneficiaries include Cardinals Wuerl, Timothy Dolan, Raymond Burke and Viganò himself, who donated the money to charity.

 

 

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