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The Vatican is dragging its feet on punishing a wayward bishop.
Bishop Michael Bransfield resigned in disgrace in 2018 from the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia amid allegations of homosexual harassment, alcohol and drug abuse and spending millions of church money on an extravagant lifestyle.
His successor, Bp. Mark Brennan, is looking to impose penalties on Bransfield to make amends for the harm he caused to the diocese.
Bishop Brennan submitted a set of proposed disciplines to the Vatican eight months ago, but nothing has happened.
In a letter to the faithful this week, Bp. Brennan said he hasn't heard a peep from the Vatican in five months about the Bransfield situation.
He speculates it may have fallen to the wayside in Rome during the coronavirus lockdown.
Brennan: "The coronavirus pandemic hit Italy hard, which may explain the delay. Please pray that this sad affair may come to a just end, and quickly."
The Vatican has often been accused of stonewalling when it comes to sex abuse scandals impacting the Church in America.
For instance, in November 2018 the Vatican ordered the U.S. bishops' conference not to vote on two measures for investigating abusive bishops.
Then, at the abuse synod in Rome last year, Church leaders decided the bishops should investigate each other — instead of using an independent review board led by laity.
Now, as Church officials stall on disciplining Bransfield, it's just the latest example of Rome's lack of accountability.
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