It’s been a long few months for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, that all started with the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield.
It’s a time that’s left parishioners with questions, and some questioning their faith. In a time that leaves many searching for answers, 7News wanted to know: what’s next?
“Our faith is founded on truth,” said Archbishop William E. Lori. “Jesus said the truth will set you free.”
Since being named the Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in September, Archbishop William Lori said he has aimed to seek the truth and be transparent.
“I want to thank the priests, the deacons, the religious and above all the lay people of the diocese for their patience, their love and their understanding,” Archbishop Lori continued.
Starting with the investigation into former Bishop Michael Bransfield.
Bransfield resigned in September amid allegations of sexual harassment of adults. He left the area and his name was removed from buildings, which left parishioners with more questions than answers.
“I felt I owed it to the people of the Diocese to do a thorough job,” Archbishop Lori explained. “So I enlisted the help of some professionals to do a very careful and thorough job of investigating those allegations.”
Archbishop Lori said a report from outside investigators is in its final stages, and he hopes to have it very soon. In the meantime, he prays the Diocese will find a strong Bishop for its new leader.
“A man of prayer, integrity, pastoral love, gentleness, generosity and someone who will bring about not only healing, but also um bring about a forward looking vision,” said Archbishop Lori about who he hopes will be charged with leading the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in the future.
He also wants to move into 2019 in the spirit of hope.
“Hope that we can come to terms with our past,” Archbishop Lori continued. “Hope that we can have a better future.”
Again, Archbishop Lori said that investigation into the former Bishop is close to completion and the Diocese will make the findings public soon as they have them.
He also said part of having a better future is acknowledging the sins of the past, including the credible allegations of sexual abuse that were released against 31 priests who have served the Diocese. He has a message for the victims, their families and parishioners as they continue to move forward.
You’ll hear that part of the story Friday on 7News at 6.