We are grateful to police in Colorado for making this arrest. Children are always safer when predators are behind bars, and today we can be thankful that Fr. Charles Manning will be kept away from kids at least for a while.
Since he was credibly accused in January at his parish in Colorado Springs, Manning has “retired” from the priesthood. We believe this is a weak way of allowing church officials to wash their hands of Manning in case they hear of any other reports of abuse, whether in Colorado or dating back to Manning’s days in Missouri. We want church officials at both the Diocese of Colorado Springs and the Archdiocese of Saint Louis to aggressively seek out other people who may have witnessed Manning’s crimes or been subject to his impropriety.
Manning has worked at schools in Glencoe (St. Alban Roe, 1997-2001), Bridgeton (St. Lawrence the Martyr, 2002-2004), and Imperial (St. John Lateran, 2004-2007), which are all within the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. Archbishop Robert Carlson should personally visit each of these schools and beg anyone who many have seen or suffered his crimes to come forward. He should also contact the parents of any child who was at the school during those years and make them aware that Manning was close to their children and urge them to find out if their child may have been victimized.
Manning was also working at a school in Colorado Springs (St. Gabriel the Archangel, 2007-2011) when the diocese was informed of the allegation. We want Bishop Michael Sheridan to take these same steps. Both of these prelates have an obligation to ensure that no one else in their flock was hurt by this predator, and they have a duty to help police and prosecutors by seeking out witnesses and whistleblowers too. We urge them to take these steps today.