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Edward Manier : A BORN – AGAIN CATHOLIC

Joe Trombello | Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Edward Manier, professor of philosophy, is not your typical Catholic.In fact, the 1953 graduate of Notre Dame stopped practicing Catholicism – and organized religion all together – for 30 years. He returned to the Church in 1999, after the marriage to his second wife and the discovery of a local parish that resonates with him.Manier said that despite intellectual objections to some Church teachings, his problems with the Catholic Church stemmed from personal hardships that lead to his eventual withdrawal in 1968.”I left the Church for personal reasons having to do with personal weaknesses,” he said. “Life had handed me a cross I couldn’t handle.”A Notre Dame professor since 1959, Manier said that disagreements with the Notre Dame administration, as well as financial and family difficulties, contributed to his decision to leave the Church.”Thirty years ago, life was teaching me that I was going to be just a run of the mill Notre Dame faculty member, and I found that lesson pretty hard to swallow,” he said. “We were supporting seven children on about $12,000 per year and I discovered I was also a pretty miserable excuse as a husband and father. I quit going to church and became a rather hostile, anti-clerical, bitter non-Catholic.”Manier also said that was often at-odds with a Notre Dame administration that proved resistant to changes that would promote more academic freedom and greater faculty governance and was unwilling to adopt a more accepting view of homosexuality.”Notre Dame seemed more interested in inter-faith ecumenism and dialogue than in consideration of liberal reform within Catholicism itself,” he said. Despite his vast differences with some aspects of Catholicism, Manier said that the influence of his second wife, whom he married in late 1999, caused him to begin practicing again and they began to attend the Little Flower Church. “Little Flower Parish is a powerful force in the lives of me and my wife,” he said. “[Homilies] are very scripture-based, from the heart, [and discuss] issues I really believe in.”