PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The bishop-elect of the Worcester Diocese wants to make certain every priest, parishioner, and Catholic politician in the county understands precisely what it means to be a Catholic.
“Rejecting that teaching can have certain spiritual consequences,” said Bishop Robert J. McManus, who views his new role as a way to help solidify authentic Catholic identity.
McManus said he also wants local Catholic politicians to know when they stray from church teaching, especially on issues that have the highest “moral valence.”
“The most fundamental human right is the right to life, and it is most obviously attacked by abortion,” McManus said. “You become complicit in doing evil, and that’s a very serious matter.”
During the 1984 presidential election, he said he watched as some “rabidly pro-abortion” Catholic politicians, such as Geraldine Ferraro and Mario Cuomo, called into question their commitment to the church.
McManus traveled to the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and wrote a 500-page thesis on the relationship between the church and Catholic politicians in America.
His conclusion: For a public official to say he or she is “personally opposed” to an issue, such as abortion, but promote any policy that deviates from that belief, is “absolutely unacceptable.”
McManus, 52, is the auxiliary bishop of Providence, and will be installed on Friday to replace retiring Bishop Daniel P. Reilly, 75.
He said during an interview in his native city that he hopes to inspire the faithful in the diocese by encouraging “psychologically and emotionally sound men” to enter the priesthood.
…McManus also said it’s even more important for priests to follow and support the church’s teachings.
“You wouldn’t be hired by IBM if you didn’t believe in the quality of the product,” he said.
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