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TV priest Mike Manning on leave after acknowledging affair

Father_manning A well-known San Bernardino priest with a large television ministry will take a leave of absence in the wake of the public disclosure of an affair with a school-system administrator in Northern California, church officials confirmed Thursday.

Father Mike Manning, a popular TV minister and technology pioneer who developed sermon applications for smart phones, will step down “to take some time to reflect on what he’s gone through and why it happened and to look at that in the context of his priesthood to get himself oriented so he can go forward positively,” said John Andrews, director of communications for the Diocese of San Bernardino. “Whenever a situation of sin with a priest happens that’s often what is recommended or decided.”

The decision to take a leave was reached mutually by Manning and local church leadership, Andrews said. Manning belongs to an order within the church called the Society of the Divine Word, which has ultimate responsibility for his pastoral assignments.

Manning has acknowledged a sexual relationship with Nancy Kotowski, the Monterey County superintendent of schools, which is an elected position. Kotowski is described on Manning’s Wordnet Production’s website as “Father Mike’s own cousin” and the author of a currently sold-out tract called “Dealing with Teenagers.” Published reports have clarified that Kotowski is a second cousin.

Manning told church colleagues that he had broken off the affair at least two years before its public disclosure in the San Bernardino Sun and other publications.

The Sun published excerpts of personal correspondence between Manning and Kotowski. Manning, who could not be reached, has not challenged the authenticity of the correspondence.

"The reality is I was living two lives: one as a priest who was vowed to celibacy and another life as a sexually active man in our sexual intimacy," Manning wrote to Kotowski, according to the paper.

"We've been such good friends, and there's a deep love we have for each other," he wrote in another excerpt. "The sexuality was secondary. It's very hard when you care for someone, but I love my priesthood more. I admit the fact of my sinfulness. I've done wrong. That's why I've stopped."

Manning’s program, “The Word in the World,” is seen weekly on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, reaching more than 200,000 households, according to Manning’s website. His programs are also broadcast on Catholic TV networks in the U.S. and on the American Forces Network. Manning has been hosting and producing religious programming since 1972.

His books and booklets include “Life Full of Surprises,” “Questions and Answers for Today’s Catholics,” “Why Do Catholics Leave the Church?” and an autobiography, “On Camera and Off.”

“He’s a one of a kind in our diocese, for sure, in terms of doing media ministry in using television and the Internet to talk about the Catholic faith in a way that inspires people,” Andrews said. “His ministry has been very important here and it’s reached far beyond our diocese.”

Kotowski, 59, has a long career as an educator, education researcher and policy expert and public official. She did not respond to a request for an interview Thursday but spoke briefly for another article, reportedly calling Manning her “soul-mate.”

"The reality is that we love the church, we're committed to the church, but I'm hoping a dialogue will open up [about] obligatory celibacy, the whole question of celibacy," she told the Monterey Herald. "Is it right for all people?"

Andrews said that Manning appeared committed to remaining in the ministry.

“He has said he loves being a priest and wants to continue,” Andrews said. “He’s a very joyful person and that’s because I think he loves being a priest.”


Priest is relieved of duties; church official resigns

-- Howard Blume

Photo: Father Mike Manning. Credit: TBN.

Comments () | Archives (79)

The Priest is not married. It's not an affair unless he's married. Priests and Nuns should be allowed to marry anyway.

Yes, he violated his Church vows, which is no small thing. But unlike the pedophiles, basically he hurt no one. And actually in other more, um, "timely" religions, this would simply be a personal family matter, not an ecumenical one.

I am glad that he was open and he has repented. As for you and I, we are not to gossip about this nor judge him. Because we ( you and I ) have done the same. " SIN ", it does not matter what he has done, sin is sin, no difference, whethere, adultory, lie,judging, stealing, lust, homosexual, pride, it is all SIN, so we are not to judge him, because he has been open and has repented.

Its so sad to read that people are brainwashed into believing that having a sexual relationship is sinful.

When will those Vatacin fossils learn you can't suppress sexuality and the bible gives the right for "all"(book of Hebrews) to marry even saying in the 'last days' false teachers 'will forbid to marry' and the scripture condemns this doctrine in no uncertain terms.It says the church has NO authority to even 'certain forbid foods.'Paul even calls forbidding to marry and abstaining from certain foods "doctrines of demons!"The indication is only a false church would teach such 'evil'doctrines.I Tim.4

No, celibacy is not for all people. Having a sexual relationship with his 2nd cousin is much better than having molested young children.

cousin through marriage or blood???

I feel sorry for this man. To have to choose between service to God and a natural sexuality is THE UTMOST SIN!

Until the RCC becomes relevant again and acknowledges that this arcane discipline of required celibacy changes, this will continue to happen.

Well, at least he was with an adult female vs some little kid lol Seriously though, he needs to get out of the priesthood he can't honor the celibacy rule.

As with some men or most men, it doesn't matter if it's a vow of celibacy or a vow of marriage...they stray because it's human nature to want what they can't have and he "strayed". That's the problem with our society as a whole! There's NO respect for others and for oneself. Too much violence, too much drug abuse and too little family and religious values

It's crazy to expect a man to practice celibacy, simply because he is a priest. The church should really consider changing that. I'm not saying that it would be appropriate for a priest/pastor/reverend to screw around all over the place, but it's only natural for them to want a life partner. They want to give and receive love, just like the reset of us. I don't think that's a sin.

the church rewrites stuff all the time. Why can't they rewrite the celibacy policy.

When is the catholic church going to wake up! and realize man is not meant to be alone!! Hello....God made woman for man...what part of that do they not understand??? They need to let me marry so they will stop having affairs and raping little boys!! Geez, what more needs to be done???

At least it wasn't an innocent child.

Father Manning,
you didn't drug , exploit, abuse , pander young folk and children?

go ye therefore, your sins are forgiven!

where in the article does it say she is his cousin?

Sorry, but it's abnormal for a man NOT to have sexual urges and not want to have sex. Of course, pedophilia is something completely different.

Priest should be allowed to have sex. That would solve the pedophilia and stuff like this. I don't care how much of a "Man of God" you are, you're human and humans have needs. The only reason Priests were forbidden from getting married and having kids dates back to the dark ages when the Church ruled and owned a lot of land. They didn't want to loose that land by having it go to the offspring of the priests, therefore, they banned them from having kids.

Well at least it did not involve children.

Homosexuality and homoerotic expressions were tolerated in numerous monasteries and seminaries to military camps, in the early era (1501–1723), The highest spiritual order is whatever you have done in the past, forgiveness is not given to man but God, man has the right to nail you to the cross for violation of the law of the land but if you can confess your sin and changed your heart today to choose the Second ADAM, God will forgive you your sins and will give you power to come back home, that is the Canon law that permits Pope to forgive former child molesters. Because the church is for forgiveness of sins and not for sending sinners to gallows and jails.
Dr. Emmanuel Adetula; M.Div, DSW.

I don't know why the church says a priest can't get married and have a wife.

Completely agree with Paul's comments. I am a devout Catholic, but requiring priests to be celebate tends to attract a certain type of man. Given the choice, not all priest would want to marry, but give them the choice and you will find that the Catholic church draws a more well rounded group of seminarians and the priest shortage would lessen.I hope this happens in my lifetime.

At least they were both adults. I mean it could have been alot worse. But I doubt he will be able to hold to his celebacy vows at this point. Maybe he could have found another gene pool to dabble in however. ACK!

God bless him, I hope he repents and makes peace with God. I hope he marries the woman and does the right thing. God can use broken people- think King David (1000 BC), Apostle Paul, et al, if they are willing to humble themselves before God.

Well, at least it was a relationship between two consenting adults. Second cousins can marry, and there is really no stigma associated with that, so even the mention of it is more sensationalist than noteworthy.

A good man, evidently, who found a woman who he cared for. Gee, the Horror of it All!

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