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Inland Catholic priest admits to secret love affair with cousin – a Monterey County school official

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A Roman Catholic priest from the Inland Empire is relinquishing his popular TV ministry after acknowledging a secret love affair with his cousin – a public school official from Northern California.

Father Michael Manning offers inspirational lectures and interviews prominent Catholics on a weekly program called the “Word in the World.” Its television home is the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Manning also founded a nonprofit TV ministry in San Bernardino 30 years ago.

The host is taking a leave of absence after he admitted to a past sexual affair with Nancy Kotowski, the superintendent of schools in Monterey County. Kotowski and Manning are cousins.

The 70-year-old priest acknowledged the affair in an interview with a San Bernardino newspaper. He said he ended the relationship a couple of years ago. In correspondence between the couple, Manning told Kotowski that he battled feelings of guilt and hypocrisy.

Manning says he’s sought and received forgiveness from God. The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino announced Manning’s leave of absence. Officials say they support Manning; they haven’t indicated whether they’ll take disciplinary action against the veteran priest.