December 15, 2011 ( - For over three decades Joanna Manning, a former nun turned lesbian feminist pro-abortion activist, plagued faithful Catholics, causing scandal, embarrassment and much frustration.  On November 27 Manning was made a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada, a Church which has openly accepted homosexuality and abortion.  It was a day when, as her friend and fellow dissident Catholic Ted Schmidt wrote, “I am sure God smiled and the angels danced.”

It’s a rare occurrence when I’m able to agree with Schmidt, but on this occasion, I do, and not for the reasons many would expect.
Joanna Manning

To be sure, I’m relieved that Manning will no longer, under the guise of a “faithful Catholic,” spout for the eager ears of the mainstream media diatribes against the pope - many of which she penned in her book Is the Pope Catholic. She will no longer be able to speak ‘as a Catholic’ representing the pro-abortion activist group ‘Catholics for a Free Choice’ – as she did during the effort to remove the Vatican from its official observer status at the United Nations.

She will no longer be teaching students (and teachers) at Catholic schools about the glories of gay sex, and how the Church must embrace it as “the creative energy of God.”

Believe it or not, this radically unorthodox ex-nun was head of Religion and Chaplaincy at Monsignor Johnson High School in Etobicoke, Ontario.  Moreover, she reveals in her biography that she developed high school curriculum for the Catholic school Board and even for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. She sat as an executive on the Catholic teachers union and was hired by the Faculty of Education at York University to teach theology to teachers working in the Catholic School Board.

However, this is not the cause of my joy at hearing of the latest news about Joanna Manning.  I don’t regard Manning as an enemy; I do not wish her harm in any way.  I wish her only the very best: happiness – eternal happiness.  To get to that place however, she must still travel a long road, but with this move she has taken a first step.

While Manning was a professed Catholic she was causing much harm not only to the faithful and to society in general but also harming herself.

We should all live authentically, to represent faithfully what we profess. Although we may at times fall, we then acknowledge our faults and try to mend our ways, always maintaining the truth of the principles despite our weaknesses.

However, it is quite another thing to profess a religion and be regarded in the public eye as a representative of it and then misrepresent its teachings: to decide that a church should be different, more to your personal tastes, and then to try to subversively change it from within. 

It is much better to be true to oneself and to reject the hypocrisy of claiming one reality and teaching another.  Either call yourself a Catholic and embrace the teachings of the Catholic Church or else join another community of faith and be true to its tenets.  There is honor in being true to one’s conscience in that way.

In leaving the Catholic Church and joining the nouveau Canadian Anglican Church (not to be mistaken for the pro-life and pro-family Anglican Network in Canada), Manning can now be true to herself and her professed religion. That spirit of rebellion which took hold of her many years ago has less of a grip on her in her new home. 

Perhaps, and this is my fervent prayer, Manning will come to realize what she has given up and long for it once again. I don’t mean what she has given up lately in now embracing her status as a non-Catholic, I mean what she gave up many decades ago – her acceptance of God’s design for human sexuality, for life and family.

And what an amazing conversion story that would be!  God would surely smile, and the Angels dance.