“No lavish sums”

He had accepted monetary gifts from Bishop Michael Bransfield, who is suspected of abuse. Now U.S. Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke has gone down memory lane and justified those financial contributions.

The gratuities he received from then-head of the U.S. Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Michael Bransfield, were either honoraria for meetings with visiting groups of priests or Christmas gifts, possibly including a gift on the occasion of his elevation to cardinal, the former Vatican Supreme Court chief said in a written statement Tuesday night (local time).

To his recollection, the sums involved were generous but "not lavish," Burke said.

According to research by the "Washington Post," a Vatican investigative report alleges that Bransfield was convicted of a total of 350 during his tenure from 2005 to September 2018.Spent US$ 000 on cash gifts to clergymen. Among the recipients, according to the report, were young priests he allegedly sexually harassed. Bransfield transferred the gratuities from his private account, according to the newspaper, but later had them reimbursed by the diocese.

No reason for suspicion

Cardinal Burke stressed he would never have accepted a check from someone who had a case pending before the court at the time he was prefect of the Apostolic Signature. "In the case of Bishop Bransfield's gifts, I never had any reason to suspect that anything was oblique," Burke explained.

Bransfield's beneficiaries included Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who led the investigation against Bransfield. Lori conceded, according to the newspaper, 7.500 dollars in gifts and 3.000 dollars received in reimbursement for expenses for two Masses in the Wheeling-Charleston diocese.

Lori is currently serving as the pope's appointed interim administrator of the diocese. Bransfield was suspended after his age-related resignation and is not allowed to perform any priestly or episcopal duties.

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Christina Cherry
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