GoLocalProv [Providence RI]
June 17, 2022
A former Rhode Island priest — who is now the Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester in Massachusetts — has stripped the Nativity School’s Catholic designation, over the Worcester school flying Pride and BLM flags.
A formal decree announcing the Bishop’s decision was published in the Catholic Free Press on Thursday, June 16 — and Nativity had the following to say.
“Nativity will seek to appeal the decision of the Diocese to remove our Catholic identity through the appropriate channels provided by the Church in circumstances like this,” wrote Nativity. “At the same time, after meaningful deliberation and discernment by its Board, leadership team, faculty, and partners, Nativity will continue to display the flags in question to give visible witness to the school’s solidarity with our students, families, and their communities. Commitment to our mission, grounded and animated by Gospel values, Catholic Social Teaching, and our Jesuit heritage compels us to do so.”
Nativity School describes itself as an “accredited, independent Jesuit middle school that provides a quality, all-scholarship education to underserved boys of all faiths.”
“To clergy sexual abuse victims, the decision of Bishop McManus, who has long practiced the cover-up of clergy sexual abuse, to prohibit Nativity from identifying itself as a Catholic school is heartless, rings hollow and without decency. After all, to clergy sexual abuse victims Bishop Robert J. McManus has no moral compass whatsoever,” said Catholic church abuse victims’ attorney Mitchell Garabedian — who was portrayed by Stanley Tucci in “Spotlight.”
McManus’ RI Ties
McManus was born in Providence and is a graduate of Blessed Sacrament School in Providence and Our Lady of Providence Seminary High School.
He studied for the priesthood at Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Warwick. After performing a year’s diaconal service at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in East Greenwich, Bishop McManus was ordained to the priesthood there by Bishop Kenneth Angell in 1978.
Following ordination, he served as temporary assistant chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital (1978), associate pastor at St. Matthew Parish in Cranston (1978-81) and associate pastor at St. Anthony Parish in Providence (1981-82). From 1982 to 1984 he was the Catholic chaplain at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) in Warwick while continuing in residence at St. Anthony.
In 1987 he took up residence at St. Luke Parish in Barrington; he was named rector of Our Lady of Providence Seminary in 1998, and was ordained as Titular Bishop of Allegheny and Auxiliary Bishop of Providence in 1999.
Pope John Paul II named Bishop McManus as the Fifth Bishop of Worcester and he was installed on May 14, 2004