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.