Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

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)

Another example of how “man” creates religion outside of what God intended. Yes he is wrong for having an affair, but “mandatory” lifelong celibacy is found no where in the bible. So we have to ask; do we follow traditions and rules created by man or follow Gods inspired word the Bible. What does God say about Sex and Marriage, he created them because he said “it is not good that men & women are alone. Hopefully this priest reflects on whom he is really following, religion or the God of the Bible.

Why don't people just give up these ancient, silly superstitions that do nothing except create fear and hatred, and do something of value with their lives?

Let the good man get what he needs. Better that he has sex with a consenting woman than molesting kids.

A hypocritical catholic clergyman ? ..... I'm shocked

Never did the bible commanded preachers are not to allowed to marry. That's just a human point of view made by the pope which has no bearing with the word of God.

When will we ever stop throwing stones??
He will have to live with his actions....

We have all done things we regret...or are even ashamed of..
Let's pray for the man...if not a praying person...wish him Peace.

The Vatican should allow Priests to marry. Although not sure, most likely one important consideration why they do not want to allow this is because of financial. Imagine the church spending more money to provide benefits not only to the Priest, but to his family as well. I am assuming that the Church has already spent millions if not billions of dollars to pay those who were molested by Priests. Would they rather spend the money to pay for benefits or continue to spend them to pay off people?

Hey Why does the link on Yahoo Say Pastor when its a priest? Well Anyways in the bible there is no mention that a person serving god has to be celibate ( the Catholic church does not want to support the priest and the family that's why they do not allow them to marry) the only problem is that he committed fornication because he is not married. I don't know if any of you have heard of Padre Alberto but he was a priest too and had an affair with a lady the only problem i saw was that he had many followers like a celebrity is the Spanish media , he lied to every one and even charged a million dollars per interview once he was caught having an affair. No one was bashing him about being able to marry. But honestly man up and get married. And follow god with all your heart. And stop fooling people they only cause for people to astray from Gods word.

They commit fornication, because both are not married. Adultery would be if they were married and were cheating on their partners just to correct some people.

I guess living a righteous life is just for the flock.

I am very disturbed that no one seems to care this man slept with someone who has blood relation to him...

An absolute waste of time, money and lives!

Funny how most people accept this and think it's fine yet they won't accept same sex marriages.
Where is the logic there?
This priest is having sex and the sex is with a family member.
If there is room to make excuses for priests sleeping with family members then people should open up to same sex marriage too.
Is there only forgiveness and acceptance for straight people?

Yes, having sex or the desire to have sex is normal. And the practice of celibacy in the Catholic church is archaic and nonsensical. But having sex with your cousin? That's weird. Is he the hillbilly priest?

Who cares? Much ado about nothing. Religion is a vast waste of time and resources. Tax the hell out of them and shut them up!

Mike Manning is nothing more than a two-bit actor who has been "playing" a "priest" on TV; he's not a "real" priest! Real priests wouldn't be deceptive, lie, and/or fornicating with a relative. If you believed he was a REAL priest, then he should get an Emmy.

Mike Manning is nothing more than a two-bit actor who has been "playing" a "priest" on TV; he's not a "real" priest! Real priests wouldn't be deceptive, lie, and/or fornicating with a relative. If you believed he was a REAL priest, then he should get an Emmy.

Ah! the challenges of being a religious man!!! Poor Father Mike, couldn't keep his zipper up while he preached to his flock about keeping THEIR zippers up! Maybe Father Mike should have purchased pants that he couldn't take off and without zippers so he couldn't pass his holy water to his cousin! These guys are the Christian version of the Taliban and Al Qauida. They say one thing and do another. Damn hypocrites!!!

Long-running affair with one mature woman? Thank God for this kind of scandal among Catholic priests.

At least it wasn't a kid.

Celibasy is not a mandatory request for god servants.
infact the bible warns us of people or organizations imposing rules like this, Please Read 1 tim 4: 1-3

When will the church realize that forcing people into celibacy only results in these kind of acts? What kind of religion is it that makes natural sexual urges a sin?!

I have no horse in this race, only opinion. What comes to mind for me before anything else is: how many believe they have been called, but in fact how few are truly faithful (more so than 'chosen') to the Priesthood?

A priest can resign...but this case, he did not. Why he did not is the question.

Beyond resignation, other possible outlets as it were can include sabbatical, a leave of absence, removal of faculties, suspension, laicization and dispensation from celibacy. I have some basic understanding of this as a result my once upon a time considering the possibility priesthood.

A priest is a sacrament of Christ the priest, as such a symbolic self-sacrifice. He is also an sacrament of the church that symbolizes the church at prayer, worshiping God.

Simply, blunt and to the point: if you can't do the time, don't do the crime (which is what some Catholics/Church consider be such a lapse by a priest.)

A priest getting it on with a cousin, a female, who'd have thunk it.

I generally don't care what consenting adults do in their personal lives. However he supposedly is celibate. It seems no one in the Catholic church really is celibate. All just blather. So who can take anything else they say seriously. No birth control, none of their business. Abortion none of their business, Divorce, none of their business. Morality, obviously none of their business.

Keep in mind when a priest gets caught with his pants down, there is a moan of he is only human, forgive. Christians forgive the sinner. On the other hand let a parishoner get caught having sex outside marriage, no forgiveness there. Let then use birth control and it is a serious sin and lets not even get into abortion. I know personally of a priest that paid for an abortion when his girlfriend got pregnant. The check was written on a church account and signed by a bishop. Yup they take it real serious, for other people. I grew up next door to a large Irish catholic family. Nine kids. Not one of them still attends the church and the mother has recently changed to an Lutheran church. There is a reason why the church is disappearing. People don't believe in what the church is selling especially when the church itself is busy covering up for their "human"priests.
If the church had cooperated with law enforcement they might have been able to pull off the "gosh it is just a frail weak person" But the minute they started covering for them, lying to cover for them, hiding evidence in diplomatic pouches and spiriting it out of the country. Moving priests, Bishops.... out of the country to protect them, heck just another criminal organization. When they send Bernard LAw back to the US to face trial then they are making a minor effort, till then they are the mafia, the Crips, the Bloods, or any other criminal gang.

My family has known Father Manning for over 40 years. He is one of the kindest people you will ever meet, and he has always been a genuine representative of the Catholic faith. If he falters in following the archaic protocol set before him, then just about anyone can. Though celibacy of its priests sets the Catholic church apart from others, I feel it keeps some potentially excellent leaders from entering into its service... especially in a time when so many good priests are needed to promote and direct.

« | 1 2 3 4 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: