John Brendan McCormack

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
John Brendan McCormick
Bishop Emeritus of Manchester
Archdiocese Boston
Diocese Manchester
Appointed July 21, 1998
Installed September 22, 1998
Term ended September 19, 2011
Predecessor Leo Edward O'Neil
Successor Peter Anthony Libasci
Ordination February 2, 1960
by Richard Cushing
Consecration December 27, 1995
by Bernard Francis Law, William Wakefield Baum, and Alfred Clifton Hughes
Personal details
Born (1935-08-12) August 12, 1935 (age 81)
Winthrop, Massachusetts
Nationality  American
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Previous post Auxiliary Bishop of Boston
Motto In all things, Christ
Styles of
John Brendan McCormick
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop

John Brendan McCormack (born August 12, 1935) is a retired American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Manchester from 1998 until 2011.


Early life and education[edit]

John McCormack was born in Winthrop, Massachusetts, to Cornelius and Eleanor (née Noonan) McCormack. Raised in Cambridge, he attended Boston College High School and St. John's Seminary.

Ordination and ministry[edit]

McCormack was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Richard Cushing on February 2, 1960, and then served as an associate pastor at St. James Parish in Salem.

He was the executive director of North Shore Catholic Charities Center in Peabody from 1967 to 1981. During this time, he also pursued his graduate studies at Boston College, from where he obtained a Master's degree in social work in 1969. In 1981 he was appointed pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Malden.

In 1984 he became Secretary for Ministerial Personnel in the Archdiocese of Boston. In this position, McCormack was Cardinal Bernard Francis Law's point person on hearing complaints against priests accused of sexual misconduct and removing some of them from active duty.[1] He was made pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Weymouth in 1994.

Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, Massachusetts[edit]

On November 21, 1995, McCormack was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Boston and Titular Bishop of Cerbali by Pope John Paul II.[citation needed] He received his episcopal consecration on the following December 27 from Cardinal Law, with Cardinal William Wakefield Baum and Bishop Alfred Clifton Hughes serving as co-consecrators. He chose for his episcopal motto: "Christ in all things."

As an auxiliary, he served as regional bishop for the South Region of the Archdiocese.

Bishop of Manchester, New Hampshire[edit]

McCormack was later named the ninth Bishop of Manchester, New Hampshire, on July 21, 1998, succeeding the late Leo O'Neil. He was formally installed on September 22, 1998.[2]

In early 2002, McCormack publicly announced the names of 14 priests in the diocese who had been accused of sexually abusing children (cf Sexual abuse scandal in Manchester diocese).[1] In 2003, the diocese reached a settlement with the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, which was investigating the child sex abuse scandal. The settlement spared the diocese from being criminally charged. In all, in the period of 2002-03, the diocese agreed to a $15.5 million settlement involving 176 claims of sex abuse.[3][4]

The May 2003 settlement of 61 abuse claims for $6.5 million handled by Manchester attorney Ovide M. Lamontagne as counsel for the Manchester Diocese prevented the diocese from being criminally prosecuted. In December 2002, the diocese had admitted that its failure to protect children from sexual abuse may have been a violation of criminal law, becoming the first diocese in the United States to do so. Under threat of indictment by the New Hampshire Attorney General, McCormack signed an agreement acknowledging that the Attorney General office possessed evidence sufficient to win convictions as part of the settlement.[5]

Lamontagne claimed that McCormack and other prominent church members wanted a speedy settlement and, in an example of behaving "pastorally" rather than as a litigant, instructed their attorneys to take a moderate stance and eschew hardline legal tactics. Lamontagne said of the diocese's legal strategy, "That is not typical in terms of client requests."


On August 10, 2010, in accordance with Canon Law, Bishop McCormack, submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI as bishop of the Diocese of Manchester. His resignation was accepted on Monday, September 19, 2011, when Pope Benedict XVI appointed then-Auxiliary Bishop Peter Anthony Libasci of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, as his successor.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Belluck, Pam (2002-02-16). "New Hampshire Diocese Names 14 Priests Accused of Abuse". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Bishop Emeritus". Diocese of Manchester. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  3. ^ Timmins, Annmarie. "CHURCH SETTLES WITH ALLEGED ABUSE VICTIMS; Diocese of Manchester to pay $5 million". Concord Monitor. Bishop Accountability. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Diocese of Manchester". Lucas, Greene & Magazine. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Ranalli, Ralph. "Church, victims reach deal in N.H. $6.5m agreement ends 61 more abuse claims". Boston Globe. 
  6. ^ "Page Not Found". Retrieved 29 May 2015. 

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop Emeritus of Manchester
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Leo Edward O'Neil
Bishop of Manchester
Succeeded by
Peter Anthony Libasci
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Boston
Succeeded by