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West Virginia bishop: Late Senator Byrd is now ‘experiencing Perfect Joy’

June 29, 2010

Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston-- West Virginia’s sole diocese-- issued a statement on June 28 following the death of Sen. Robert Byrd. One of the most influential politicians of the past five decades, the late Baptist senator generally opposed pro-life legislation.

Bishop Bransfield wrote:

Today our nation marks the passing of a great statesman and public servant, Senator Robert C. Byrd. While we will prayerfully reflect on his decades of scholarship, hard work, and dedication to the people of West Virginia, we must also celebrate the future that Senator Byrd helped shape.

Senator Byrd led the transformation of West Virginia’s highways, and technology, health care, education and criminal justice systems, which will advance the quality of life in our beloved state for generations to come.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston offers its most sincere condolences to the Byrd family, and we pray during this difficult time that family and loved ones will remember that Senator Byrd is now at peace with the Risen Lord and, with his late wife Erma Ora Byrd, is experiencing Perfect Joy.


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  • Posted by: long john - Jul. 01, 2010 4:33 PM ET USA

    I cringe when someone claims to be so knowledgeable that they can see what God is doing with the departed, faithful or otherwise. This "divine insight" is especially disturbing when it comes from a Catholic Bishop. Until such time as someone is offically declared "Blessed" by the Church, NO ONE knows where God has placed the souls of the deceased!

  • Posted by: opraem - Jun. 29, 2010 9:33 PM ET USA

    well, john denver sang about west virginia being 'almost heaven'.

  • Posted by: garedawg - Jun. 29, 2010 7:46 PM ET USA

    If get diagnosed with a terminal illness, I'll be sure to move to Charleston so I can be on that fast track.

  • Posted by: stpetric - Jun. 29, 2010 5:43 PM ET USA

    Ah, the apotheosis of Blessed Robert!

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Jun. 29, 2010 5:40 PM ET USA

    I too pray that Robert Bryd is standing before the Lord, but it would be presumptuous of me to declare it so, even if he were a Catholic.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 29, 2010 5:37 PM ET USA

    Is that how Bransfield got to be a bishop -- by fawning over the politically powerful regardless of what they stood for?

  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Jun. 29, 2010 5:09 PM ET USA

    Bring back the old 1962 form of the funeral Mass. That way, no one will be confused and prematurely or incorrectly canonize anyone who dies. There was something to the Dies Irae which reminds us all that we are in constant need of prayers for the fate of our eternal souls and that eternal life is by no means a done deal when we die. I'm sick of these mealy-mouthed bishops currying favor with the political elites instead of being shepherds. We have Kennedy suck-up O'Malley here!

  • Posted by: - Jun. 29, 2010 3:23 PM ET USA

    Well, if he transformed highways, who can doubt that he is in heaven? Christ talked about that issue almost constantly, no?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 29, 2010 12:43 PM ET USA

    May God forgive us and our bishops. We must pray for our bishops. A KKK member bypassing Purgatory? I don't know, and neither does the bishop. That's why we must pray for them both.

  • Posted by: bsp1022 - Jun. 29, 2010 12:17 PM ET USA

    Cornelius... Well said [must be a private revelation]. If only the declaration of the good Rev. Bishop were all that is required to make it so, surely, I'd be the happiest man in the world. [see Jack Nicholson - "As good as It Gets" (1997).

  • Posted by: Catawba01 - Jun. 29, 2010 10:40 AM ET USA

    If Protestant's don't believe in praying for the dead, and Catholics are led by bishops such as the Rev. Bransfield to believe it's not necessary either, then souls like Mr. Bird and many, many more have only the prayers of some Catholic religious orders and any laymen who think to intercede for "those who have no one to pray for them by name or relationship each day."

  • Posted by: - Jun. 29, 2010 9:35 AM ET USA

    Perhaps a bit premature of His Excellency to pronounce God's own judgement minus God. Then again, all in the "spirit" of Vatican II>

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Jun. 29, 2010 8:19 AM ET USA

    Another Catholic cleric puts an individual in heaven! Amazing. How many Catholic clerics ignore Purgatory? Perfect joy? Byrd went straight to heaven?? How about simply expressing prayer and an invitation to prayer for the repose of his soul??

  • Posted by: - Jun. 29, 2010 7:22 AM ET USA

    Skipped right by Purgatory, eh? Must be a private revelation.