OK, so Robert "It's Bishop" McManus didn't commandeer a pulpit last weekend to put anyone out of place.... Don't scream at me, this is what his people are saying today.
The Diocese of Worcester's communications director, Raymond Delisle, said the focus of the bishop's homily was not to denounce the pastors for not supporting a Church-backed signature drive to end gay marriage in Massachusetts, but to present the Church's perspective and teachings on marriage. So, what to make of this?
"What he was trying to do was to make parishioners aware of what the church is presenting and why it is important," said Delisle.
McManus celebrated two Masses after the Rev. George Lange and his associate pastor, the Rev. Stephen Labaire, printed a short item in a recent church bulletin disagreeing with Roman Catholic bishops who support an amendment to the state Constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman only....
Delisle added that parishioners with different viewpoints on the gay marriage issue can often interpret the same message in different ways.
In a letter to parishioners on Sept. 26, McManus wrote: "Earlier this month, I wrote to all pastors and priests in our parishes, asking them to support enthusiastically this pastoral effort to safeguard traditional marriage between one man and one woman by implementing a signature drive in their parishes."
Lange and Labaire, however, did not embrace the drive. In the Sept. 11 church bulletin, they wrote: "The priests of this parish do not feel that they can support this amendment. They do not see any value to it and they see it as an attack upon certain people in our parish, namely those who are gay."
While these comments drew the attention of McManus, Lange's bulletin message also noted the bishops were looking for help in the signature collection drive.