Sunday, October 14, 2018

My pastor resigned...

This past Thursday I received a bulk email sent to parishioners from the parish’s Director of Administration advising us of our pastor’s resignation and inviting parishioners to attend a Q&A session today.  Since I cannot attend, I sent my questions in an email this morning to the parish’s Director of Admin, the interim pastor, and my bishop.  I thought readers might want to see my questions so here is a copy of my note:

Dear Keith, Fr Gary, and Bp Earl,

Thank you for the information.

Keith, You might remember me as the person who donated the original artwork of “the Red Crucifixion” which used to hang in the St John center basement.

I cannot attend today’s meeting.  However, here are my questions.

The term being used is “sexual harassment” vs sexual assault. Their legal ramifications differ.  Has it been strictly sexual harassment which violates Michigan and federal civil rights laws as a form of discrimination, or did it also involve sexual assault which violates criminal law?

Regardless, what steps have been taken to hold Mark, St Thomas and the Lansing Diocese legally responsible for the sexual harassment?  What legal authorities have been contacted and involved?  Please describe the legal process and where we are within that process. 

How many people were sexually harassed by Mark?  

How recently did the harassment occur and over what length of time did it occur?

How many times did Mark harass each person?  Once? A few times? Dozens of times? Hundreds of times?

Were the people who were harassed male, female or some of each?  

Were the people harassed parishioners?  

What were the general age categories of those harassed: pre-school, pre-teen, teen, university/young adult, adult?

What was the nature of the harassment: unwanted touch, unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, exposure, providing a hostile environment such as subjecting employees/parishioners to sexual jokes, remarks, pictures or graphics, employment or advancement related threats or quid pro quo offers, etc...?

It has been said multiple times Mark is undergoing “therapy.” What exactly does that mean?

According to psychologists, regardless if the harassed are male or female, there are 4 common characteristics of sexual harassers. They typically have:

1) “The Dark Triad” consisting of a) narcissism (inflated view of self w lack of empathy combined w urgent need for approval), b) psychopathy (fearless dominance and aggressive impulsiveness) and c) Machiavellianism (so focused on own interests that person deceives, manipulates and exploits for own interests).

2) Moral disengagement- a cognitive process by which person justifies his own bad behavior and creates his own alternate reality where moral norms do not apply to him: a) portrays harassment as acceptable, b) uses euphemistic terminology, c) displaces responsibility such as blames culture, d) creates advantageous comparisons (at least it wasn’t...) to minimize infraction, e) shifts blame (“she was should have expected....”)

3) employment in male dominated field

4) hostile attitude towards women

Some, if not all, of those psychological characteristics are inherent or prevalent in Catholic hierarchical culture.  How do you anticipate therapy for one individual will cure the Catholic hierarchy’s sexist culture?  Due to the church’s male hegemony and long standing male hegemonic praxis, this sexism often is considered “normal” by many in the church, especially the hierarchy.

I have experienced innumerable homilies that are sexist (sexual harassment) and countless individual conversations with priests that are sexist (sexual harassment).  I have received sexist lectures and penance in reconciliation...also sexual harassment. Canon law and doctrine include sexist notions and the priesthood itself is sexist.  How were you able to discern and distinguish Mark’s sexual harassment from the institutional sexual harassment endemic in Catholic culture?  

When I have complained about sexist words or actions, I have been brushed off and told how mistaken I was.  I am very curious to understand the unique situation here in which Catholic officials actually acknowledged sexual harassment occurred.

Know of my prayers for you and all involved.

I did not say this in my note but I will offer it here.  Due to the endemic  sexist culture within the Catholic hierarchy, I have difficulty suppressing a desire to speculate that the harassed must have been with a man, possibly a clergy member, for the person to have been taken seriously.  Sexist treatment of women often is "de riguer" with many Catholic hierarchy.

In a stroke of irony, within a day of receiving the note about my pastor’s resignation for sexual harassment, I received an email invitation from the Diocesan Director of Communications, inviting me to the diocese’s oh-so-sexist “Arise my Beloved” Catholic Women’s Conference.

I encourage people, as they are called, to engage with the hierarchy, asking the tough questions that need to be asked.

By the way, no word from my friend, the Papal Nuncio.



  1. Another masterpiece. Note the term:"master" is as sexist as the "man with a womb" denotation for the feminine (woman). Human culture has been sexist, misogynistic since the first man complained bitterly to his male buddy that the woman was excused from the hunting party because of the "baby" thing. Rather than lead humanity out of the "desert" of misogyny our Catholic Church has been and remains its biggest champion. (Read Card.Ratzinger's missive: "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World")

  2. As a priest in graduate studies in Spirituality, (where I was taught Teilhard de Chardin in secret) I attended the first session of Vatican II as an assistant and translator for the American bishops. When I returned home I excitedly started to work toward the "New Pentecost" and was defeated to the point that I felt it necessary to resign from the clergy.
    You are precisely the Catholic that Vatican II envisioned. With your knowledge and devotion, you are the New Pentecost and are beautifully showing others how they can be in their own way. God bless you in your efforts, and God bless all whom you touch.
    Anthony Massimini, S. T. D.

  3. Tonight's news confirmed your suspicion that it was another priest who had accused Fr. Mark Inglot of sexual harassment. Don't you hate being right sometimes?

  4. Brilliant summary of the issues. Many thanks.

  5. Excellent! Great questions and observations.

    I thought you could be describing our POTUS IN #1, then realized it could actually describe several priests I have known.
    Thats really scary.