Michael Joseph Bransfield

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
Michael Joseph Bransfield
Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston
Archdiocese Baltimore
Diocese Wheeling-Charleston
Appointed December 9, 2004
Installed February 22, 2005
Predecessor Bernard William Schmitt
Ordination May 15, 1971
by John Krol
Consecration February 22, 2005
by William Henry Keeler, Theodore Edgar McCarrick, and Bernard William Schmitt
Personal details
Born (1943-09-08) September 8, 1943 (age 74)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Styles of
Michael Joseph Bransfield
Coat of arms of Michael Joseph Bransfield.svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop

Michael Joseph Bransfield (born September 8, 1943) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who currently serves as bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia.[citation needed]


Early life and education[edit]

Michael Bransfield was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended St. Bridget’s Grade School, St. John the Baptist High School and Roman Catholic High School for Boys.

From St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Master's degree in Divinity.

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Bransfield was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal John Krol on May 15, 1971, and then did pastoral work in Huntingdon Valley until 1973. He earned his Master's in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.,[citation needed] in 1973, and then worked as a teacher, chaplain, and Chairman of the Religion Department at Lansdale Catholic High School.

Father Bransfield was named Assistant Director and Director of Liturgy (1980), Director of Finance (1982), and Rector (1986) at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. In 1987 he was raised to the rank of a Honorary Prelate of His Holiness.

Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia[edit]

On December 9, 2004, Bransfield was appointed the eighth Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, by Pope John Paul II.[citation needed] He received episcopal consecration on February 22, 2005 from Cardinal William Henry Keeler, with Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick and Bishop Bernard William Schmitt serving as co-consecrators, at St. Joseph's Cathedral.

A trustee and current president of The Papal Foundation, Bishop Bransfield also sits on the Board of Trustees[citation needed] of the Catholic Distance University, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He holds membership in the Knights of Columbus and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. Within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he serves as treasurer and sits on the Communications Committee and the National Collections Committee.[citation needed]

Accusation of sexual abuse[edit]

On Wednesday, April 18, 2012, the Associated Press reported that Bishop Bransfield has been accused of sexual abuse of a boy in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

On Thursday, April 19, 2012, a Catholic News Service (CNS) online news brief regarding the matter stated:

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston said secondhand allegations that he sexually abused a teenage boy are completely false. The accusations against Bishop Bransfield, who was ordained a priest for the Philadelphia Archdiocese, were raised April 18 by a witness at the trial of two Philadelphia priests on sex abuse-related charges. The witness said another Philadelphia priest who has since been removed from ministry told him about the alleged abuse by Bishop Bransfield. "I have never sexually abused anyone," said an April 19 statement from the 68-year-old bishop, who has never been charged with any abuse. He said he understood he was "a public figure and therefore subject to public criticism." But, he added, "the nature of these statements and the manner in which they were released ... go way beyond any sense of fairness and propriety." Bishop Bransfield said it is "misleading" to report that Stanley Gana, the former priest who is purported to have made the allegation, admitted abusing a minor at a vacation home owned by the bishop. "What did not get released was additional information available to the prosecutor that I was not aware of the incident and was not present at the house at the time," he said. "Gana has confirmed those facts in prior reports."..."[1]

The accusations against Bishop Bransfield were proven false when the alleged victim came forth and flatly denied that he had been abused by Bishop Bransfield.[2]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bernard William Schmitt
Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Succeeded by
Walter R. Rossi