HERTFORDSHIRE, England (ChurchMilitant.com) - A former Protestant minister and LGBT campaigner who was sentenced for embezzling thousands of pounds from an AIDS charity played a key role in influencing bishops to close churches during the pandemic.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW), repeatedly affirms the contribution of Jim McManus, consultant to the CBCEW, in the process leading to to the lockdown of churches, noting that "more stringent measures ...[were] outlined by Professor McManus."
Nichols acknowledges the decisive "advice issued to us about Church practices by Professor Jim McManus," during the first phase of containment when churches were still open.
The CBCEW website states McManus' role as "helping guide the Catholic Church's response to COVID-19" and a "key contributor" in preparing pandemic "guidelines for Catholics."
McManus admits in an article in The Tablet to attending a briefing with Britain's Premier Boris Johnson less than a week before the churches were closed.
Church Militant and other Catholic media were informed of McManus' past identity as James Gough McManus, who was convicted of 11 counts of theft against Northern Counties Trust, an HIV charity he reportedly helped set up in Cleveland, Middlesbrough.
According to British LGBT magazine Gscene, McManus, former director of Sussex AIDS Center, received a 21-month prison sentence in 1999 for stealing £15,000 from Northern Counties Trust.
"The judge Michael Taylor told McManus that his defense had been a 'tissue of lies,' and there were 'no redeeming features' to his case," Gscene reported.
Last week, Church Militant wrote to McManus asking how the influential study by Professor Neil Ferguson and the Imperial College team had led to his recommendation to the bishops to close the churches for public worship.
Church Militant reported on Ferguson's resignation from Britain's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) after the scientist was caught breaking his own lockdown rules and asking his leftwing married mistress, Antonia Staats, 38, to travel across London to his home at least twice for a lover's tryst.
Ferguson, who predicted the death of 500,000 Britons if a lockdown wasn't enforced, was also disastrously wrong when he predicted the death of 200 million people from bird flu in 2005 and 65,000 Britons from swine flu in 2009.
In 2001, Ferguson erroneously advised widespread culling to halt the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, costing £10 billion and leading to the slaughter of over 6 million cattle, sheep and pigs.
McManus did not reply to our query on Ferguson's models for the Wuhan virus and whether his own recommendations to the bishops were determined by the Imperial College research.
In 2011, McManus, was awarded the Vatican's "Good Samaritan Medal" for health care, despite a history of homosexual advocacy and alleged criminal activity.
The previous year, the Barking and Dagenham Post reported that McManus was due to stand trial in September 2010 for obtaining money from his then-employer, the National Health Service's Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust, "through deception" and failing to inform them that he had "awarded contracts worth over £8,000."
A LifeSiteNews investigation has revealed that McManus, secretary of the Scottish homosexual rights group in 1985, rejected his Catholic faith and became a minister in the LGBT-focused Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in 1995.
In a 1995 interview with the Newcastle Evening Chronicle about a film featuring a sexually active gay Catholic priest, Rev. McManus said he had "always been told that homosexuality was wrong" while growing up as a Catholic.
"Telling people it's alright to be gay so long as they remain celibate is like putting them in front of a sweet shop and saying don't go in. It really is pathetic," he said.
The magazine for homosexual men Pulse reported in 1995 that McManus performed extra-legal "marriage" ceremonies at Pride Scotia that year.
However, multiple sources close to McManus said that they could vouch for his celibate lifestyle as well as his kindness, goodness and commitment as a Catholic.
"He's trying his best to give scientific advice to the bishops while running the public health response of Hertfordshire. He's been working 18-hour days, and is recovering from illness," one source said.
"I've known him for over a decade and he is a practicing Catholic who told me he lived by the Church's moral teaching. He is the only advisor to the CBCEW about COVID-19. So yes, he's had a major input into their thinking, but at the end of the day Cdl. Nichols and the archbishops made the decision to close the churches," the source confirmed.
A source also told Church Militant that some bishops were against the closure of churches but were overruled by Cdl. Nichols.
Damian Thompson, former editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald, tweeted asking if Cdl. Nichols and CBCEW were aware of the claims against McManus. If they "were not aware of these claims, which reached me from two entirely unrelated sources, then they are guilty of appalling negligence," he commented.
Speaking to Church Militant, the current associate editor of The Spectator said: "Jim MacManus' colorful past isn't very carefully hidden, so I'm not sure this is a case of Cdl. Nichols and his inner circle being gullible. The point is that McManus ticked the right boxes — left-wing, gay, public sector, health and safety — and so it seems no questions were asked. And dissident views he held were irrelevant. They always are — so long as those views are left-liberal."
"And so Nichols now finds himself with some serious explaining to do, which is unfortunate for him because he hates having to explain or justify any of his decisions," Thompson added.
Church Militant has written to McManus asking for his response to the claims. No reply was received as of press time.