Catholics activists in the diocese of Lansing, Michigan are publicly protesting the secrecy and deception of Bp. Earl Boyea's handling of the removal from ministry of long-time Dignity priest Fr. Mark Inglot.
When Fr. Inglot was finally permanently removed from all priestly ministry last week due to "a credible complaint" of sexual harassment of a fellow priest, the diocesan website gave scant details about why the 63-year-old priest was granted senior priest status.
Here is the full text of the three-sentence diocesan statement published on Saturday, Feb. 20 under the headline "Rev. Mark Inglot granted Senior Priest status":
After a five month period of therapy and discernment, and 37 years of service in the diocese of Lansing, Rev. Mark Inglot has been granted Senior Priest Status. He will not have public faculties to celebrate the sacraments. Rev. Inglot will use the tools he has gained to live out priesthood in right relationship with God and others, and to strengthen his commitment to celibacy. There were no incidents involving minors.
Inglot was pastor since 2000 of St. John student parish, which serves Michigan State University and was merged in 2009 with St. Thomas Aquinas parish. The two parishes are now known as the East Lansing Catholic community.
The student parish, even before Inglot's arrival, was known as a gathering place for the homosexual network, as the Lansing group Dignity had been meeting there for many years with the full knowledge, consent and support of the chancery miasma and Boyea's predecessor, Bp. Carl Mengeling.
The Wanderer published a lengthy, front-page investigative report about the Lansing Dignity chapter in its July 12, 2001 issue. All of the research for the article was compiled by me, and it was published pseudonymously.
Today, in the wake of both the shocks of 2002 and the current meeting in Rome regarding sex abuse and homosexual networks, the article offers insight to how entrenched the homosexual movement was in the Lansing chancery and diocese back then — and remains even today.
The article contains these quotes from a Dignity newsletter directly quoting Fr. Inglot, boasting about how determined he is to advance both the group Dignity at St. John's and into other parishes and dioceses.
It is hard to believe that I will be the pastor of St. John's for one year this corning June! It has been a blessed year and one of transition, which is always a unique experience. As part of my vision for St. John's as a student parish whose primary mission is to serve the Catholic students, faculty and staff of MSU, I hope to see an expanded outreach and ministry to the gay and lesbian community at MSU. St. John Student Parish has a long history of ministry to the gay and lesbian community. I hope that a dialogue can begin at the May 1st meeting on how we can enhance and invigorate a viable ministry to and with the MSU community and parish.
There are many ideas floating around in my head in regard to ministry and the gay and lesbian community. I am glad to work with Jim Toczynski from St. John's and Mike Liberato from the Diocese of Lansing, and also a St. John parishioner, in the future. Easter Blessings!
---Fr. Mark Inglot.
The article also quotes the Dignity president, stating, "Fr. Inglot Mark re-iterated his support for our ministry, as well as the support of the bishop [emphasis added] (who a few years ago convened a task force whose charter was to propose a diocesan ministry to gays and lesbians), and I was very thankful for that."
When Inglot was removed from ministry as pastor on Sept. 11, 2018, the diocese indicated on its website that a claim of sexual harassment was made by an adult co-worker was deemed to be "credible" and an investigation was underway. However, at the same time, the associate pastor was also relieved of his post, pending the results of the investigation.
Local media soon reported the abuse complaint came from the much younger associate pastor at the parish. Inglot formally resigned from the two parishes on Oct. 15, and the public learned of the decision to remove him from all ministry last week, five months after the original complaint.
Protests about Boyea's handling of the Inglot case have been persistent, and he has been unmoved.
A new group of laity, St. Joan of Arc Coalition for Church Transparency and Safety, was formed by members of several different local parishes in the region in early October, mainly to protest the Fr. Inglot situation.
The spokesman for the group, Karen Currie, told 6 News, a local TV news station, a three-page letter was delivered to Boyea requesting transparency on three issues, all related to sex abuse in the Church. Other concerns involved coaches in local Catholic schools.
"Bishop Boyea. ... We have reason to believe that you had knowledge of Fr. Mark's unchaste lifestyle prior to your September 11, 2018 statement announcing his administrative leave," the letter said, asking for "disclosure of any and all misconduct investigations" involving Inglot.
The 6 News report said Currie complained of "multiple situations" in recent years within the Lansing diocese and minimal information has been shared.
"It's fostering an environment for predators to continue to victimize other individuals because it seems there is a greater level of protection right now for predators within this Diocese within the Catholic Church then there are in other organizations," Currie said. "As a Catholic, as a Christian, it's deplorable."
The day after Inglot's final removal was announced, a new lay group formed in September, The Daniel Coalition, based in the diocese and headed up by attorney and local elected township official Jason Negri, was pointed in its criticism of Boyea in a press release:
"We applaud Bishop Boyea for doing the right thing in removing Fr. Inglot from ministry," said Jason Negri, executive director, "However, the diocesan announcement in this case is misleading. While the rest of the statement makes clear that Inglot will not have public faculties to celebrate the sacraments, the headline makes this discipline sound like a simple retirement, and that is emphatically not the case."
When Fr. Inglot was placed on administrative leave on Sept. 11, 2018, the Diocese described the incident that led to his suspension as "sexual harassment made by an adult co-worker." In fact Fr. Inglot, while pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas, had made sexual advances towards his associate, a much younger priest who was his subordinate. Both priests were immediately removed from the parish, and Fr. Inglot was sent away for months of therapy.
The diocesan announcement does not say whether Fr. Inglot's current status was determined because of the offense he committed against his associate, nor whether any further information concerning sexual misconduct or other misconduct has emerged regarding Fr. Inglot. Such information is essential for transparency and for inviting anyone else who might have been the object of Fr. Inglot's sexual advances to come forward.
Perhaps most galling to those in the diocese of Lansing who have watched Bp. Boyea tacitly refuse to rein in Fr. Inglot since he took over the diocese in 2007, was the farewell column from Fr. Inglot in the parish bulletin.
"Fr. Inglot was permitted to post in the parish bulletin, in which he apologized neither to the victim nor to the parish, but instead largely portrayed himself as a victim," Negri stated in his press release, adding:
The diocese owes the victim and the laity a full explanation of why Fr. Inglot is retiring early and why he is forbidden to practice the sacraments publicly. In any secular environment, sexual harassment in the workplace would not be tolerated at all, and if an employee were dismissed based upon a credible accusation, as in this case, his dismissal would be clear to everyone. Lay people and priests — and all would-be predators — need assurance that this behavior will not be tolerated in the Diocese of Lansing.