Jul 23, 2019 / 08:55 am
Bishop Mark Brennan will be installed as the ninth Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston next month, as West Virginia’s sole diocese looks to move forward from the scandals of its previous leader, Bishop Michael Bransfield.
“It will be my highest priority to work with you on true reform and to open our hearts and minds to the healing power of Christ’s unconditional love,” Brennan said at the July 23 press conference announcing his appointment.
Officials in the diocese also emphasized healing and reform.
“Today is a new day in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston,” Bryan Minor, Delegate of Administrative Affairs for the diocese said at the start of Tuesday’s press conference.
Brennan’s appointment comes after “many trials” in the 11-month period since Bransfield’s resignation was accepted by Pope Francis, Minor added. Brennan’s appointment was announced earlier in the day by Pope Francis.
“We seek to pivot from the past to the promise of the future,” said Minor.
For his part, Brennan began his own pivot to West Virginia early. During the press conference, he quoted extensively from “Country Roads,” John Denver’s ode to the Applachian mountain state.
Brennan’s appointment follows recent revelations about the malfeasance of Bransfield, who is alleged have committed sexual assault and sexual harassment of adults, and abused diocesan funds to support a lifestyle that reportedly included drugs, private jets, and large cash gifts to Church officials.
Brennan did not mince words when discussing Bransfield, saying that “I want you to know how acutely aware I am of the deep disappointment and pain” the diocese has felt over the last year.