A controversy erupted in 2021 when Bp. Richard Pates (Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Crookston, MN) told a small group from the Crookston Diocese that Abp. Bernard Hebda, head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, sent him to attend an assembly of the notoriously dissident Association of US Catholic Priests (AUSCP). The small group of faithful Catholics asked him not to attend the assembly, to which he responded that Abp. Hebda “wanted to welcome them [the AUSCP] into the archdiocese” but his schedule did not permit him to attend. Before the AUSCP’s assembly, the Lepanto Institute sent Abp. Hebda a letter asking him condemn the AUSCP and to forbid his priests from participating in the AUSCP on any level. Despite the fact that 11 of his priests are members of the AUSCP, he responded by saying:
“I will not be participating in the assembly. Given that the priests of this Archdiocese are required to attend with me our Archdiocesan Presbyteral Assembly, scheduled in Winona, Minnesota, for the same dates as the AUSCP, I felt that there was no need to issue any statement to the priests of this Archdiocese.”
At least two of his priests were confirmed as participants in the AUSCP meeting.
Abp. Hebda is once again at the center of controversy due to his personal recommendation of Cynthia Bailey Manns as one of six non-bishop voting delegates from the United States for the Synod on Synodality. Following this announcement, Complicit Clergy produced a 16-and-a-half-minute video giving some deep insight into who Cynthia Bailey Manns is, illustrating her connection to pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ, syncretist organizations. What the video points out is that Manns’ resume ties her intimately to at least four highly problematic organizations. She is:
- Director of Adult Learning at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community
- Certified spiritual director who has served on the board of directors of Spiritual Directors International (SDI)
- Adjunct professor at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
- Adjunct professor at St Catherine University in Saint Paul
At 14:44 into the video, Manns (speaking at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community about the approval process for her appointment as a representative at the Synod) used the appointment to establish some sort of approbation for the entire parish by the pope. She said:
“In order to vet me they had to vet St Joan of Arc, and for those who say we aren’t Catholic enough – blah blah blah blah – yeah we are, and the pope said so!”
Earlier in the video, beginning at 1:50, Complicit Clergy provided footage from St. Joan of Arc, wherein Our Lord is horribly mocked through grotesque puppets provided by a company unironically called “In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater”:
At 2:49 of Complicit Clergy’s video are two homosexual men holding a child giving their blasphemous “testimony” that “Jesus also has two dads, and He turned out pretty great.”
At 2:58 is a “testimony” delivered by a self-proclaimed lesbian.
At 3:11, a man dressed as a woman calls for a discussion about “the elephant in the room. Let’s face it, I look like a chick … but I sound like a dude.”
If what Manns said about the vetting process is true, then her appointment to the Synod does at least give tacit approval to all of this (and much more) by the Vatican.
Additional footage from St. Joan of Arc also shows Buddhist monks performing a pagan chant before the Mass for the Second Sunday in Advent, an Earth Day celebration calling the earth “our mother” and declaring that “humans belong to the earth,” and ends in a statement from Manns herself wherein she declares herself to be in a state of “Holy Rebellion,” saying, “It is my strength courage and resistance to destroy the status quo.”
Further examination of of the original video from which that last clip was taken reveals that Manns’ “holy rebellion” means seeking to tear down the Catholic Church. At 9:00 into the source video of her statement, she said:
“I must help destroy the power structures of patriarchy, clericalism, and absolutism which lead to the exclusion, silence, and repression of certain people and voices in our larger Catholic Church.”
The video from Complicit Clergy merely highlights some of the most shocking aspects of Mann’s associations and statements. Just as we were preparing to publish this article, we discovered a webinar Manns hosted which appears to promote abortion, contraception, and homosexual and transgender ideologies. The September 11, 2022 bulletin for St. Joan of Arc included an announcement that Manns would be giving a Zoom presentation on Sept. 21 titled, “Sacred Encounters.” The announcement gave very few details beyond stating that it will be a Zoom discussion and directing parishioners to go to the St. Joan of Arc website for the link.
Bearing in mind that the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade just a few months prior, what the website indicated was that Manns would be leading discussion on (among other things), “concerns for women’s access to reproductive healthcare, LGBTQIA+ justice, the continued government sanctioned destruction of Mother Earth or any other treats to our democracy.”
Contact Archbishop Hebda to let him know what you think about his appointment of Cynthia Bailey Manns to the Synod.
Archbishop Bernard Hebda
777 Forest Street
Saint Pail, MN 55106-387
email: [email protected]