Robert Joseph McManus

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Coat of arms of Robert Joseph McManus

Robert Joseph McManus (born July 5, 1951) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who serves as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Early life and education[edit]

McManus was born in Providence, Rhode Island, to Edward W. & Helen F. (née King) McManus. He grew up in the Providence area, graduating from Blessed Sacrament School and Our Lady of Providence High School. He is an alumnus of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and the Toronto School of Theology.

Ordination and ministry[edit]

McManus was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1978 by Bishop Kenneth Anthony Angell of Providence. He served as an associate pastor at several parishes and chaplaincies throughout the diocese for nearly twenty years. He was elevated to the title of Monsignor on February 28, 1997 by Pope John Paul II.

Auxiliary Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island[edit]

McManus was consecrated as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Providence on February 22, 1999.[citation needed]

Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts[edit]

Since May 14, 2004, McManus succeeded Daniel P. Reilly, who retired.[1] He was installed in Worcester on May 14, 2004.

McManus criticized the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester for renting out "sacred space" to the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy for workshops. He thought that the classes taught things which violated the teachings of the Catholic Church. On October 10, 2007, he issued a statement expressing his thoughts and criticisms of the conference.[2]

Disputed property sale[edit]

In June 2012, on instructions from McManus, diocesan officials declined to sell a property owned by the diocese, an historic mansion in Northbridge, to a married gay couple. The property had been used as a church-affiliated nonprofit retreat center.[3][4] In September the couple filed suit against the bishop and other parties to the negotiations, citing an email in which church officials pulled out of the sale "because of the potentiality of gay marriages there."[5] A lawyer for the diocese said that the Massachusetts anti-discrimination statute provides an exemption for religious institutions. He said: "If a religious entity did not have to permit property to be used for gay weddings, which we all agree, why must religious property be sold to an organization if it is going to be used for a gay wedding?" Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a brief supporting the plaintiffs that said "we believe that this family was unfairly discriminated against by the diocese when it refused to sell them property based on their sexual orientation.... And no reasonable person would think that a wedding that took place on a property no longer owned by a church was endorsed by that church." Oral arguments in the case are scheduled in Worcester Superior Court on April 22, 2014.[6]

Arrest[edit]

On May 4, 2013 McManus was arrested for drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident, and refusing a chemical test in Narragansett, Rhode Island. After the alleged accident, the other person involved in the collision followed him and phoned the police. McManus was reportedly arrested about 20 minutes after the accident. He later stated: "I made a terrible error in judgment by driving after having consumed alcohol with dinner. There is no excuse for the mistake I made, only a commitment to make amends and accept the consequences of my action. More importantly, I ask forgiveness from the good people whom I serve, as well as my family and friends, in the Diocese of Worcester and the Diocese of Providence."[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robert Joseph McManus
  2. ^ Hudson, Deal W. (October 15, 2007). "High Noon at College of the Holy Cross". Crisis Magazine. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  3. ^ Williamson, Dianne (July 26, 2012). "'Plans' don't include sale to gay couple". Worcester Telegram. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  4. ^ Anderson, Karen. "Gay Couple Says Church Is Blocking Sale Of Historic Home". CBS Boston. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  5. ^ Wangsness, Lisa (September 10, 2012). "Gay couple says church denied Northbridge mansion sale to stop same-sex weddings". Boston Globe. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  6. ^ Wangsness, Lisa (March 14, 2014). "Worcester Diocese is guilty of antigay bias, Coakley says". Boston Globe. Retrieved March 14, 2014. 
  7. ^ Andersen, Travis; Feathers, Todd (May 6, 2013). "Bishop McManus of Worcester arrested for drunken driving; admits 'terrible error in judgment'". Boston Globe. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Daniel Patrick Reilly
Bishop of Worcester
2004 – present
Succeeded by
incumbent
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Providence
1999 – 2004
Succeeded by