Another Catholic bishop has joined San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on the list of anti-gay drunk-driving prelates: Bishop Robert J. McManus, leader of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, was arrested last weekend in Rhode Island for driving under the influence.
The Boston Globe reports:
McManus was arrested at 10:32 p.m. Saturday on charges of drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident, and refusing a chemical test, Narragansett Police Captain Sean Coorigan said. McManus is to be arraigned Tuesday in district court in Wakefield, R.I.
In a statement posted to the diocesan website, McManus writes,
On Saturday evening, May 4, 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.
In addition to forgiveness, Bishop McManus is implicitly asking for Catholics in Worcester follow the example of Jesus by showing him mercy, compassion, and kindness. But these virtues are curiously absent in the Bishop’s (mis)treatment of LGBT people.
McManus became Bishop of Worcester in 2004, just one day before same-sex marriages began in the Bay State. He wasted no time in attacking the freedom to marry: when Worcester city clerk David Rushford, a Catholic, said that by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, he was putting into practice the Catholic teachings on “inclusivity, universality, and respect for the dignity of each individual,” Bishop McManus hit back with a stinging statement calling same-sex marriages “morally flawed” and characterizing Rushford’s words as “morally incorrect and pastorally misleading.” He attacked the Massachusetts Supreme Court for recognizing the right of gays and lesbians to marry, writing that “the judicial decision of a court can never make morally right what is by nature morally wrong.” And he warned Catholics against participating in same-sex marriages in any way, calling such unions “evil”:
Moreover, it must be pointed out that Catholics, especially public officials, who willingly and with approval facilitate the legal sanctioning of same-sex unions are involving themselves in cooperation with evil. Such cooperation is not free from serious moral and spiritual harm.
McManus’s homophobic bigotry didn’t stop in 2004: when President Obama endorsed marriage equality in 2012, the bishop’s office issued a statement calling the President’s evolution “deeply saddening” and (falsely) claiming that granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry harms children. Last April, McManus ordered a small Catholic college in his diocese to withdraw its invitation to Vicki Kennedy to speak and receive an honorary degree at its May commencement ceremony, citing Kennedy’s views on reproductive choice and marriage equality. Oh, and remember the Massachusetts Catholic diocese that infamously backed out of a real estate deal last year after they discovered that the buyers were a married gay couple? You guessed it: it was McManus’s own Diocese of Worcester.
Bishop Robert J. McManus is the worst kind of hypocrite, pleading for love and compassion for himself while demagoguing and dehumanizing others. Here’s hoping that Catholics in Worcester see right through his charade.