In a disturbing video, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, Most Reverend Manuel A. Cruz, is seen being stuck in the face by an assailant during Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

The sanctity of the Mass was shattered when a man, wearing a white robe over a red suit, walked up to the altar from the crowd, reached Bishop Cruz and struck the 63-year-old in the face, knocking him backwards until he fell on the altar. Uniformed police officers rushed to the altar and tackled the assailant, Charles Miller, 48, of Newark, N.J.

The bishop suffered a cut lip that required stitches in the attack at the altar, according to news reports. One officer at the scene who saw Cruz after he was struck commented to another officer that several of the bishop’s teeth had been loosened in the attack.

The assault occurred while the bishop was offering opening prayers during a Mass commemorating the life of Catholic baseball legend Roberto Clemente, who died in a tragic death in a plane crash en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua in 1972.

Warning – this video contains footage that viewers may find disturbing.

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          • Hollyness of the church depends the truthfullness of his heart to Our God but if the one of the deliverance of the love of God to the People is making against God’s will or an abomination doing I will pinched him also because disrespect to the House of God and the church will not be Church of God anymore instead Church of Evil

          • Viv, we do not know whether this is a case of rape, or, not. However, if I had the power, I would not impurify myself by touching these demonds. I would burn those sons of Satans (I’m only referring to those rapists ones) the same way that thousands of innocent women, under made up accusations of witchcraft, were killed by those so called ‘holy men’.
            And to those who are attacking Viv, you should at the very least respond to her posting/clearly stated question instead of formulating assumptions and false accusations.

          • Alex, that is the absolute BEST place to commit acts of violence, IF the Priest is involved in a heinous crime such as Raping a Child OR Covering up the incident.

            It is the only way that the parishiners will know to question the events.

            I AM NOT SAYING THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE, only thst I believe that, at times, this behaviour may be acceptable.

          • So why did God let it happen and did nothing after it did. Mortal man was left as usual to do anything about it. Why is God so apparently indifferent?

          • I agree with Alex entirely. the Bishop is an ordained minister. and besides that I am betting that there was little to no prior relationship. the Bishop obviously did not recognize this man, as can be seen by the sheer confusion on his face, if he had done something wrong to this man, he would have recognized him almost immediately. and if you are wondering about the officers, this is in a country where church shootings and other violent acts have become more and more common, and besides, plenty of Cops come to mass in their uniforms during breaks where I am from. also, the type of person who assumes that the Bishop has done something as heinous as rape without so much as a hint of hesitation is obviously one who worries to much about searching for scandal, and not enough about searching for truth.

        • Just because YOU think like a degenerate doesn’t mean everyone else does. But, since we’re making assumptions, maybe the Pimp assaulted the priest for interfering with putting little 13 year old girls on the streets of New York.

        • Really, if I were to attack a priest for touching my sons, I wouldn’t first take the time to dress myself like a pimp & make my way to the church. I would rush there in my morning slippers & curlers or however I’m dressed when I get the news. Maybe use the brain.

        • our a sick evel person that’s like saying he is black man hitting like they do ! this man was sick petty I wasn’t there I would have hurt him

        • On the altar a priest is image of Christ. If any offence committed by him on personal level there is an appropriate authority to deal. Assaulting during mass is not an an act of cultured person. Unless such person is mentally ill no one can say it’s right to so.

        • Shut up! Go to the public schools in America and vent your hatred there. There is 100X the rate of sexual abuse of children in the U.S. public school system than there EVER was in the Catholic Church.

          Get off this thread, you vile bigot.

          • The 100x contention. You can’t know that because the church would never release their numbers to make that comparison. Regardless, from what source do you make the 100x rate of sexual abuse comparison.

        • Viv, it sad when you assume that he did something like that. You have passed your judgement on someone you know nothing about. The hand of God is the most powerful and he will strike down all who attack the church and the priests. Our God is a living God. Unlike the non believers.

        • If all the priests are pedophiles.
          All blacks are criminals,
          The Latin rapists.
          The white drug users,
          The Arab terrorists.
          The Russians the bad ones
          The Chinese are not hygienic

        • Wow Viv Ward, what a bigoted and ignorant thing to project. But I guess you know and are good at these kinds of judgments and meting out cowardly attacks. If the bishop is innocent of your supposition and the attacker is charged and convicted with a crime after due process (which the attacker didn’t grant the preacher) will you be open to being more intelligent and less approving of attacks on Catholics and our priests? Just asking.

        • You are a half wit!!!

          “what if the priest raped your son??”

          REALLY??? This priest raped NO ONE! What the Hell is wrong with you? Are you that warped and that sick that you think all priest need to be physically assaulted because you think they might have been involved with something that is 99.9999999 % of the cases happened more than 40 years ago??

          GET A LIFE!!!!

    • I have had the opportunity to visit mass in both New York and New Jersey. It has been my experience that uniform police officers are always there at mass and confession in the larger cities.

      • I go to Mass regularly in New York City, and I have NOT experienced police at mass on regular days. At special times, as when the reliquary.of St Therese de Lisieux.was at St Patrick Cathedral ..
        Here on Long Island no police are at mass, unless as a private citizen going to worship…after mass, decades ago, there were police acting as crossing guards after mass…but no longer…

      • It is not only on the east coast that they have officers in mass. Most Cathedrals are centered in downtown or older parts of Cities. Denver also has security because of the area of the church.

    • We’ve had security present at our Church (during weekend Masses)for years, as a direct result of physical threats like this.

    • Whatever the back ground there is no excuse for this. Also many uniformed police attend Mass on the way to or from work. Many police are Catholic and given the dangerous job they do everyday to protect you and I they attend Mass to ask God to keep them safe and bring them home to their families.

    • I don’t know the answer, but have you watched the daily mass on EWTN? There is a police officer by the door at all times.

    • Nancy Mcabe, perhaps because ISIS has made a verbal threat to the Vatican. Jews & Christians are the enemy to Muslims. We are the infidels. Read the Qur’an.

    • newark is close to nyc…center of drugs, etc…police officers are always stationed here, theft and vandalism of statues and the brass chalices, paintings…the gold Crucifix’s is invaluable…

    • Uniformed cops are present in Urban churches because they protect the money from the collection. Without cops anybody might come and rob the collection money!

      • Yes that is true. It is also true that God is created by man, and is impotent. God cannot even act to protect himself or his interest or his loyalists. Civil order is what protects God. That is why Police guards God in church.

    • Still hard to tell for you in spite of the fact that the Priest was only celebrating Holy Mass?! Is it bcoz the Priest does not belong to your Sect?

      What are you?

    • Appreciate your objectivity and openess to understanding by asking questions. My immediate thought –Is there a justifiable background to any relationship that gives license to walking up and slamming someone in the face? The priest did not seem to expect to be hit or have any sign of recognizing the assailant or having any fear of him so it is doubtful in my estimation that he knew or had any reason to be concerned that this man approached him, even as it was highly unusual to occurr during this.point of the Mass. Many churches have begun to feel the need to protect their congregation from potential threats as reports of terrorist activity around the globe aimed at church groups has increased. Security sadly has become a major topic for church communities. It creates a sad state for people of faith to desire open communion with all and yet have to risk potential injury or threat to family in order to have that communion. But my guess is that priest finished Mass and will get up and do it again tomorrow.

      • Thank you. As for the previous comments… why does any parent then let their kids play sports? I am always hearing about coaches being accused of abuse on the kids of their teams.

  1. I hope there will be a follow up story which includes the motives of the man. In the meantime, both the bishop and his assailant will be in my prayers.

  2. Very upsetting, stuff like this brings out anger and this is what perpetuates others to lash back, my first response was anger and retaliation but my faith and better Angel calmned my outrage but this shows how hatered has spread across this our Nation in this last year and I pray and shack my head everyday..”God the Father” please help us.”;a Catholic..And proud to be one***

  3. God has this and there is never a reason to hit anyone at any time, anywhere unless you’re are in danger of being killed.. Glad this mentally ill man didn’t have an AR-15..We must pray for all those affected by this and for the man that felt it necessary to attack a man of God in front of other innocent women and children..

    • Well said Jason! If you don’t want to listen to the Bishop you don’t have to be there. If you disagree with him there are better ways to say it than that.

  4. This is a great reason to sit in the front. This knucklehead was permitted to travel a great distance before he was confronted by the police. I have never tacked a person in Mass before, however, here was an opportunity!

  5. There is no excuse to attack a member of the clergy during Mass. I don’t care what the reasoning. It is shameful. The same could be said of any clerical member during any religious service. As a Catholic the Mass is of utmost importance as a sign of Christ’s sacrifice and serves as the cornerstone of our beliefs. How dare anyone disrupt it!

    • Very true the man who raised his hands on the Bishop seems mentally ill and has little or no faith at all. Such people who have no value of the Catholic Church teaching are the biggest threat to society. Just because the church teaches not to retaliate does not mean he has the right to instigate violence. God deals with such people in a way they will repent for the rest of their life. Hope the man converts and pleads for forgiveness of his sin to the Bishop and the Catholic Church community for causing hurt to every Catholic’s sentiments.

  6. Thank God there was a police officer attending mass that day. It is high time we start protecting our priest. We can not just stand and watch crazy people work into the church and punch a priest. I Vancouver seven years ago, somebody almost came close to attacking our priest, but the quick response of ushers prevented him from getting close. May the peace of the Lord be with them.

  7. my father attended catholic schools all his life, school run by Jesuits. the horror stories I have heard from him could make anyone sick… I attended catholic school all my life because my mother wanted it, my father was against it. he was always very vigilant asking my brother and I questions about things in school. my brother was never allowed to be an altar boy. I will say this. there is a lot of abuse that goes on behind the church doors that most do not know or even want to think about. there is a lot of rapes going on with altar boys and they do not mention it because of fear. People open up your eyes and see this for what it is. We do not know what motivated this man had to do this, but the truth is always in the middle. I am a Christian but I am no longer Catholic I have seen too much in my life to know better. I remember one time about 40 years ago when my dad wanted to pull us out of school and my mother said no, my dad walked into the rectory and was very vocal when he told everyone that we were sent there to learn not to be beaten or to kneel for hours after confession. He told them he would report any child abuse to the authorities. We were forced into confession daily. there were times when we would kneel for hours with long penances until lunch time missing the classes in between. being kids I remember my friends and I making up lies to confess because we had to confess daily. how much wrong can a child do in a day?? our lies were stupid, like we talked back to our parents or we stuck out our tongue at a sibling. But if we did not confess we were lying. so before everyone goes nuts about this guy punching this guy, why not ask what do you think the priest could have done to deserve this??

    • I was an alter boy as well as went to a catholic school.
      Not once was I sexually assault. As for getting spanked by a nun once, my father gave them permission. Told them “if he gets out of line, smack him!”
      Also, Catholics do not do confession everyday. So you are lying. Plus, you don’t make your first penance until 3rd grade.

      • My whole clan are devout Catholics and my brothers were altar boys. They had normal childhoods. No traumas , no malice. And true , confessions are not done daily even in a Catholic school. You see too many twisted movies.

      • Different Countries have different local protocols. At boarding achool in the 1940’s and 1950’s in the UK and Ireland daily confession was common. In one Diocese in the uk you take your confirmation first! Don’t be so q uick to accuse someone of lying…

      • Tom you are absolutely right. There are people especially not belong to the Roman Catholic church who would like to destroy our church. This has been tried for more than 2000 yrs and nobody has been successful. Roman Catholic Church still the first and will remain first among those who organized diff religions. GOD IS GOOD


    • So Pastors from Christian churches have also done the same. They are also well known for having affairs with women. So don’t be so wuick to judge our Catholic priests. I also attended a Christian church where there was ni suvpch drama but it hapoens at Christian churches 2.

    • Unbelievable, both your claims and the fact you would use this incident to spread anti-Catholic bigotry. How Christian of you. I’m 52 went to a Catholic school was an altar boy as was my older brother. Both my sons, one a freshman in college and the oldest a 2nd year law student, were altar servers as is my 12 year old daughter. Never a problem. I’ve been a lector, eucharistic minister, Sunday school teacher and usher. Having served in the Army I’ve been active in a dozen parishes, and known dozens of wonderful priests, men who gave their lives to the service of God and His children and I’ve never encountered even a rumor of inappropriate activity. I’m sure with over 1 billion Catholics on the earth it happens, but it is the exception. The Church is under attack from without and within. And you my brother are flirting with the 9th Commandment.

    • If you’re so rabidly anti-clergy then why are you on this site? Somehow the Church exists without the clergy? And BTW, assuming the worst of entire groups of people based on the heinous and deplorable acts of a few of its members is precisely the root of racism and other pathetically ignorant forms of intolerance. It is not acceptable of anyone who claims the identity of Catholic or Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or pretty much any other “ism”. And until very recently, was becoming unacceptable among Americans.
      I have witnessed bizarre behaviors like this that stemmed from mental issues, not from any attributable reason.

    • Viv Ward, it’s pretty clear you learned to be anti-Catholic and to hate priests from your dad at an early age, and maybe he learned it from someone else and not from any personal experience with a priest. The Catholic church my wife was baptized in in PA was burned down by Know-Nothing Catholic-haters in the 1920’s (before she was born and it was rebuilt), and the church we are presently parishioners of in CA, same thing. Hate is a religion for some.

      I’ve been around priests, nuns and brothers since childhood in many situations (58 now) and never been touched inappropriately. We know bad things have happened, and the haters jump on those and make the most of it. Ireland is in the middle of its own French Revolution and the Catholic Church is the target. My uncle was a priest, now deceased, was accused of abuse and the last ten years of his life was a nightmare until only one the accusers was willing to step forward, and he admit it never happened. All accusers were paid 40k euros by the government and all they had to do was make the accusation and never present an argument or face the accused. That’s the world we live in today.

  8. I was amazed an the altar server whose first instinct was to protect the Bishop and continued to cover him with his own body as shield. That was true heroism and true faith to defend the priest, the in persona Christi, how beautiful an example to us all.

  9. Viv Ward, I’m sorry for your past experiences. That is horrible.
    I too went to catholic school, only I had the exact opposite experience. The Priests and Nuns made my sisters and brother and I feel safe and valuable! They are human, and just like everywhere, there will be ‘bad’ people…but they are the ‘few’ rather than the ‘majority’… I refuse to let the ‘bad apples’ taint my existence of what I know is there. I truly wish for you the same. GOD Bless.

  10. Tom, sorry, but because I did go to Catholic school, I made my 1st Confession & Communion in 1st Grade! This was in the 60’s and they did change it because my children were in 3rd grade in the 80’s when they made theirs. Times do change…

  11. Security detailed should. Be replaced. They were not very attentive. The nave of the Basilica is huge. No way that guy should have got that close to the bishop before intervention by security. He should have been stopped when he walked into the sanctuary with his hat on. I understand the security guys probably are not Catholic. But the ushers should checked him for wearing his hat in church. Or least had security monitor him.

  12. Viv, what a wonderful person you are. I really admire you but i would like you to always be very sure of what an issues actually is before you reach your conclusions. You have said so much already, even to the stories of the stories you were told by your forefathers, your so called experiences and how you were brought up to believe the clergy are are so corrupt when yet the cause of the incident is not yet ascertained. Let me indulge you. You may be right so also you may be wrong. But it is courtesy to tread cautiously, may be wisdom as well. Reason first and not sentiments.

  13. To all of you who suffered at the hands of a false Sheppard. .. you are in my thoughts and prayers.
    I will add my voice to say my Catholic education was wonderful. The nuns made me the loving person I am today. I continue to be friends with priests who I have known my whole life. They teach to read the word, seek true Sheppards, practice your faith, and learn scripture with history.
    Just like I decry the young man who walked in and murdered a prayer group, or those who deface a mosque or synagogue, so do I decry this man… a place of worship should be held sacred.

  14. The Church is holy. Her founder is holy, even if her members are shitty. Mired in muck though I may be, I am called to rise above it all and empowered by grace to become what God wants me to be – granted that is, that I cooperate with the same grace and the giver of that grace.

    The sins of a few do not invalidate the Church, nor do they negate her nature, origin, and raison d’etre. Sinner or saint, hypocrite or genuine, (which all of us have been at one time or other in our lives), we are the best reasons for the Church to exist, for we are all in need of mercy and salvation … yes, even those who, throughout history, have tried – in vain – to destroy her.

    When was the last time the untold stories of gallantry and heroism of great saints and ordinary men and women who do a lot of good all over the world were celebrated by the biased media?

    I may not be a saint, but I definitely would like to be one. I may be a sinner, but I take pride, not of my sins, but of the fact that, despite all, I am loved by God who stands ever ready to welcome me back to the fold. Every time. All the time.

    Please pray for me, dear friends, as I do for you!

    • The gates of hell will never prevail against the Church…..
      That is His promise to us, try as they may, the One, Holy,Catholic and Apostolic church will ever stand.

  15. Treb, I totally agree with your well chosen words. I too share your thoughts and will pray for you. The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church will be with us until the end of time, this is promised by Him.
    Being Catholic is a gift. Becoming a saint is our goal. Remember Faith is a gift.’I may not be a saint, but I definitely would like to be one. I may be a sinner, but I take pride, not of my sins, but of the fact that, despite all, I am loved by God who stands ever ready to welcome me back to the fold. Every time. All the time.’ Treb

    Please pray for me, dear friends, as I do for you!

  16. Nobody here knows the reason why this man punched the Bishop. If it was spite then it’s wrong. I don’t judge. You never know. Bishops are people not God and they are subject to sin. Anyone who disagrees with that isn’t Catholic. If you caught your spouse cheating wouldn’t you humanly retaliate against the man or woman doing this to you. If the man had a reason like that the only place he could slug a Bishop would be at Mass because unlike a common Priest the Bishop is out of site most of the time and has more protection then a common Priest.

    If he punched out of hatred God have pity on him and the Christian thing to do is be forgiving instead of condemning him the lost soul. Ill bet if the Bishop is a true man of the cloth then he already has reached out in forgiveness. It’s his call. I can’t believe the Church posted this because it’s not going to help anyone. Its like watching the news and holding a trial in your living room. Point is it’s just as evil getting beat up outside of the church clergy or not. Things like this happen everyday. We need to pray for the victim as well as the assailant.

    • A Bishop is representing God in that office, so he is scared. When evil is perpetuated in the Church, we call in for forgiveness. Nothing of such will ever happen to a mullah ever. That Bishop yes is human but must be revered by the virtue his office. The assailant where sane or not should go down on his knees and ask for forgiveness. Simply

  17. The Devil comes in all forms and all kinds of people who are willing to do his will,no one is safe in his world,may God forgive that pimp who hit a defendless man of God

  18. I am disappointed with the remarks ‘re: This incident a Priest saying Mass to commemorate the death of Roberto Clemente and then hit and injured for no reason. Those actions are very disappointing just as the comments. God Bless this Country and give those

    • Thank you for the follow up article. Similar things have happened in my local parish where mentally ill homeless wander in at an odd points in the mass. When on their meds they can be soft-spoken and respectful. At other times when they are off their meds, aggressive. Some are just verbal, some get just a little too close. You have to be on your toes when a parish has folks like that in the neighborhood. The kinda know the church is there for help if you need it so they wander in looking for solace, warmth, food, shelter, etc. If you know the sequence of the mass well enough, you know when someone is appropriately approaching the altar or not. That part of the mass required no person to approach the altar for any reason. His approach at that moment was strange and out of place from the start. That cop had a gut instinct, followed right behind the guy and tackled him before he could assault again. Had the cop been a split second sooner, he could’ve persuaded the guy to back up so he wouldn’t have reached the priest. Honestly, no one’s fault. The mentally disturbed cannot always ignore the random thoughts in their head and the average person doesn’t know what to expect or how to respond without agitating the situation.

  19. Will someone please moderate this article’s feedback. Quite a bit of it is vile and simply trash. Better to have no comments at all.

    • Although I see your point, Chuck, just because you cant see it doesn’t mean its not there. Think about that before you write such silly comments. I will ALWAYS protect freedom of speech. Even in the eyes of the weak.

      • Freedom of speech is a responsibility that saves a soul or condemned the soul, like the Lord Jesus said that. What makes a person impure is what comes out of his heart, plus let’s not forget the sermon in the mountain, assumption is a sin, also it’s not reality, also assumtion end in dimentia, if you talk evil so evil you will do, read the book of wisdom and judge your self.

  20. This person is a worker of Evil Spirit. There is nothing between him and Bishop.

    Since he belongs to devil, he did that strange thing. How dare he is to hit our church Bishop.

  21. It is our duty to protect one another as member of Christ body, the church. As faithful to the teaching of the church, we must be vigilant and always open our eyes for todays reality. Even God is being disrespected and blasphemed in various ways. Lets teach our children as future defender of faith.

  22. This is absurd, nobody has no right to physical abuse especially on a defenceless individual and an officiating priest at that. If there is any grudge, there is the judiciary in church to petition to.

  23. For all those who are commenting on priests molesting and abusing kids, I say if you have a case with any priest whatever you know where your petition should go. A 65years old defenceless Bishop seems an easy pick. The man needs a psychiatrist. In the altar of service to God!!!!? What’s evil is evil.Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm.

  24. If all the priests are pedophiles.
    All blacks are criminals,
    The Latin rapists.
    The white drug users,
    The Arab terrorists.
    The Russians the bad ones
    The Chinese are not hygienic

  25. A woman was in the courtroom to support Miller (the man who assaulted the Bishop), and she came out of the courtroom and told reporters outside that he was typically a kind man but was off of his medication. He is undergoing a mental evaluation. There is no known previous connection between him and the Bishop.

  26. If someone have any issues with Bishop , it can be resolved in many ways . Even if he want him to hurt , criminals have different ways to execute their plan. But what this gentleman tried to do is beyond this.. he had terrorised the people. In a gathering if you are committing a crime ..the fear spreads like fire…the hatred , the anger and all negativity propagates and this man was upto that only. Please do not help his cause by posting hate messages

  27. The guy looked like a pimp. I suspect he did it because the priest might have been doing his apostolic duty in his “turf”.

  28. How can so many Catholics have such racist views. You are the reason young people like me who were raised in the Church have left. The greatest weapon used against the church and people of faith is those who go around with hate in their hearts and claim to be a member of a faith community. It says to Millennials that what you say is not what you believe and we are a generation that won’t tolerate it. BTW my best friend is a priest and he agrees.

    • i will agree, there is definitely a problem among the faithful of this sort. we are certainly not to be speaking without regard for ho we might drive away. it is our duty to act out of love in all things, because when we do not, the rest of the world perceives no validity in our expressed beliefs, and we are leaving ourselves unable to further God’s work in this world. I am currently on Ministry with NET in Ireland, and I can honestly say that one of the most important parts of training is watching how we speak to others. never say what you cannot back up in every aspect with your faith, and never speak about your faith in any area that you yourself do not have studied knowledge in.

  29. The police, it would seem, could have prevented this from happening. They were right behind the man, and surely they knew it was inappropriate to approach the altar. I think they should have tapped him on the shoulder and asked him what he was doing before he got to the priest.

  30. It amazed me how some one could do such a thing as this to a bishop, in Nigeria no one can be allowed to go that close to a prist celebrating mass at the Altar without his mission being defined, in every parish, the servants of the alter are well known to the parishioners, no amount of disguise/pretence by a stranger to fake who he or she is not can confuse the people cos the church warders are on hand to curtail such excesses. if the man has a grouse to settle he should have followed the right channel, his utter disregard to the exulted Altar of Christ is condemable. The bible said that vengence is God’s and surely He will repay. Jesus is Lord forever and may his name be praised forever more.


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