Thursday, April 7, 2011

Priest Admits to Affair With Cousin

The Rev. Michael Manning, a Roman Catholic priest and televangelist with a show on Wordnet, a worldwide Catholic television ministry based in San Bernardino, California, has taken a leave of absence after he confessed to an affair with his cousin (pictured).
[Rev. Manning] said he broke his vow of celibacy with Nancy Kotowski, a school superintendent in Monterey County, Calif., the San Bernardino County Sun reported Wednesday. The 59-year-old Kotowski is Manning's second cousin. The sexual relationship came to light after the Sun received intimate correspondences between them. "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 one correspondence the newspaper received. The two cut off their affair about three years ago when he grew conflicted over the illicit affair, he wrote in the correspondence, according to the newspaper. It was not clear how long the relationship lasted. "We've been such good friends, and there's a deep love we have for each other," he wrote. "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 began a Catholic television ministry in 1978 and now appears on "The Word in the World," a weekly show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. The priest said Wednesday that he would take a leave of absence from his post with the Diocese of San Bernardino. It is unclear what will happen to his television show. Kotowski said Wednesday she hoped revelations of the affair would change some of the long-standing rules of the church - mainly the vow of celibacy that priests must take. "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?" She then went on to describe the priest as her "soulmate" and said that they even considered marrying. "It's a struggle, but we know God is calling to us, so we honor that," she told the newspaper.
Wait, isn't it illegal to marry your cousin? Anyway, Rev. Manning said he prayed his sin away and God forgave him.
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