Have no idea where to post this question


Long story short: I was talking to some people after Mass (3 older folks) and the priest walks up to us to say hello. He was a visiting priest. I made small talk with him and then he zoned in on my lapel pin and patted it with his whole hand. I’m an adult female and the lapel pin is not up on my collar but down, on the lower lapel of my pea coat - - on my left chest. I just stood there, awkwardly and confused and the woman in the group looked at me oddly too. The priest made a flattering comment about me and then he started talking to the others in the group.

Should I be concerned? Forget the fact that he’s a priest for a minute - - I can’t imagine any person (male or female) reaching over and patting my chest. And considering I just met the man, I find it really odd behavior. Anyway, I can’t stop thinking about this because if he’s a pervert, I’m outraged by it (especially since I did nothing at the time) but if somehow it was innocent, then I feel guilty for thinking ill of him.

I’m not going to say anything to anyone so I’m not looking to get anyone in trouble. For my own peace of mind, I’d just like to hear what others’ opinions are. I’ve never experienced anything like this - - it’s not like he went to point at my pin and then accidentally tapped me. He used the whole surface of his hand. On the other hand, I keep asking why a pervert would do something in front of others . . .


Ummm a little harsh calling Fr a pervert don’t ya think? I do not pretend to know his heart, but I believe you could be making this a little more than what it is. :shrug:


Why would anyone pat a pin :confused: I don’t wear pins so I don’t know. Just asking… does pin patting mean something?


This could be nothing or could be an issue. Here is what I mean; it could possibly be that the priest was zoned out of what he actually did and honestly meant what he did, point out the pin and show appreciation for it. On the other hand, it could have been a cheap way of “copping a feel”, i know a little harsh and street language like, but there are no other terms which describe it better.

This is what I would suggest, locate the priest and set an appointment if possible; if he is reachable. Bring a friend whom you trust 100% and meet with the man and let him know your concerns. You will know by his reaction or lack there of what his intentions were. Hopefully he didn’t even notice that his touch could be deemed inappropriate. It may be a valuable learning opportunity for him.

On the other hand, if it turns into something which you prove to be perverted, then you will know for sure and then you could decide to alert his pastor and/or bishop. Two things must be kept in perspective, know what the truth of the situation is completely, and the protection of others. The first will protect the priest and yourself from false accusations, and the second will compel you to make it known if there is danger for others.

This is not an easy situation and I hope you can meet with him. My prayers are with you!


I agree here, what kind of pin is this?


For the sake of anonymity, I won’t divulge what my pin was (although it’s really remote that anyone I know will be reading this) but it is a cultural pin and during our very brief small talk, we spoke of something related to that culture - - but I didn’t point out the pin to him.

Lapey, thank you for your reply. I know you are right but I can’t imagine putting myself in that situation and asking him about it - - that’s more awkward than when it happened. If he didn’t intend any inappropriateness then I’ll look like a crazy person. And if he did intend to do that, I don’t really have anyone that I can take with me to speak to him before he leaves town and I can’t imagine going alone.

I’m thinking of asking the woman who saw it happen what she thought. She knows me quite well but at the same time, I don’t want her thinking I’m over-reacting and I don’t want to plant seeds of ill thinking in her head about the priest if he is totally innocent.

Thanks for the prayers.


I think you should let it go. If your lapel pin was cutural and you were talking about it, then that makes more sense why he patted it. I do agree it was a bit odd, but not that odd. I would not mention it to anyone else. You could very well be tarnishing a very good priests reputation. Unless I knew for a FACT that a priest behaved badly, I would NOT say a word…


I can't IMAGINE a priest doing something like that in public on purpose. But it is an odd thing to do nonetheless. There's not really much you can do about it anyway. If it was OVERT, sure, I would write the bishop or something, but if not, you risk injuring his good name. I agree with you on asking the friend. Just be casual, like, "What was up with THAT?"


Well, no, I wasn’t talking about the pin at all to him – we spoke about a geographic area which is indirectly related to the culture of my pin but we didn’t speak of the pin. Not that it makes any difference . . . but I just wanted to clarify that.

I’m just thinking here . . . even if a person pointed out a pin or an insignia or anything on their chest area, I still can’t imagine that giving anyone license to put their hands on it. Let me put it this way, if any other male, other than a priest, did what he did, I’d be horrified. I’m trying to cut him some slack because of his vocation and the whole reason I’ve not said anything is because I don’t want to tarnish someone’s reputation and I can’t imagine a person doing that on purpose and in front of others but yet it’s so obvious to anyone who doesn’t live in a cave that you don’t put your hands there in this day and age.


Maybe the pin was very interesting and he pointed it out and breached your space by touching you, but I think it was probably an honest mistake, in that he patted your pin which near your breast, the same way that he might pat a pin that a man is wearing on his chest.


Yes, this is what I was thinking; I’ve seen people pat others on the chest, sort of like You go, girl! but usually it’s not men doing it to women lower down on the chest! OTOH, the OP was wearing a pea jacket; hard to believe that a man would do this for a thrill?

Is the priest older of from another country?


He’s probably late 50’s. Nope, not from another country. He’s white, I’m white.


[quote="triumph316, post:12, topic:317437"]
He's probably late 50's. Nope, not from another country. He's white, I'm white.


Well, it's *odd, *I agree, but I wouldn't worry about it unless there were other, odder things he was doing. I myself wouldn't make a fuss over just that, if it were just patting, iykwim.

Annie :)


I think I would give him the priest the benefit of the doubt on this one unless he did something else that seemed inappropriate. A pea coat is fairly thick so if he wanted an intimate touch this kind of thing wouldn't accomplish it.


This is a good idea. If he did not mean anything about it, it will serve him to be aware in the future. If he did mean something, it will be good to call him out on it. Late fifties is certainly early for a man to have dementia, but it is not unheard of. At any rate give him the benefit of the doubt until you are sure of what you are dealing with.


Was the priest from a “touchy-feely” culture where personal space is not so personal? I think I would let it go and avoid close contact in the future.


No, he was not from a different culture. I'll never know what he intended because he has left town and I don't expect to cross paths with him ever again. :confused:


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