Anglican Watch

Tenth’s Session models the very definition of contumacy, as it appoints nimrod Paul Duggan a commissioner in the Goligher debacle

Paul Duggan

We continue to look with dismay at the foot-dragging, cover-up, and spiritual abuse that is coming to the fore in the matter of Tenth Presbyterian, Liam Goligher, and Susan Elzey. In that vein, there is no better example of the toxic morass that Tenth Presbyterian has become than the appointment of Paul Duggan as a commissioner in the matter.

To be clear, we recognize that there are four commissioners, and thus, Duggan is not the only voice in the matter. But we have watched Duggan’s comments closely, both here and elsewhere, and his selection as a commissioner is not only laughable, it’s disrespectful to the people of the church and to victims of abuse. In fact, it’s the consummate example of contumacy.

While we’re on the topic, don’t even think about telling us he was elected. He was part of a slate of commissioners put together by the Session, which was voted up or down by the church as part of the larger question of removing Goligher. As such, Duggan is about as appropriate for the role as appointing the driver of the getaway car for a group of bank robbers as prosecutor for the bunch.

Indeed, from the start, Duggan has been a zealous but irrational apologist for Goligher. He’s also spiritually abusive, with a bad habit of playing the whole fuzz-and-blur game. That’s a game that we see played time and again by various narcissists’ flying monkeys.

In fact, this behavior is so typical it’s part of the standard-issue flying monkey playbook.

Initially, Duggan showed up here and over at the Wartburg Watch arguing that:

  • Goligher wasn’t arrested for having sex in a Lancaster park.
  • The charges in question involved a citation, not criminal charges.
  • Maybe the citation wasn’t for sexual activity but rather some other misconduct.
  • The whole question was opaque, as the statute has been amended since the time of the incident.
  • The entire matter needs to go before a Presbyterian court, and we outsiders need to leave well enough alone.

And just in case that wasn’t enough to deter truth-seekers, he can see inside our hearts and knows staff here at Anglican Watch to be mean-spirited and malicious.

So there.

Meanwhile, even a casual read of his online advocacy for Goligher is enough to call into question his ability to remain impartial. In fact, Duggan is like the passenger on the Titanic who lustily bellows, “We can’t be going down! After all, I’m in First Class!”

And while Duggan’s antics are a tremendous smokescreen and a full-on artillery blast of BS, even a cursory investigation quickly made explicit that Goligher and Elzey, indeed, were charged with having sex in a public park and pled guilty to those charges.

As to whether or not Goligher and Elzey were arrested or issued a citation, we’re calling BS on that one. That’s a red herring and irrelevant. Who cares? The fact of the matter is that both Elzey and Goligher faced charges that were criminal in nature.

And, as others have noted, Goligher’s purported claims of a picnic and other nonsense are irrelevant. Any minister with half the sense God gave a goat knows you don’t drive from Philly to Lancaster to hang out with someone else’s wife. Not to mention the Larger Westminster Catechism expressly condemns such behavior,

Goligher’s questionable veracity

Then we get to the bit about the Tenth Session allegedly self-accusing, which is flagged on Tim Bayly’s blog.

That’s a load of bull crud, and Duggan knows that full well.

The truth is that Tim Bayly fought long and hard to pull the Tenth Session, kicking and screaming, into the light of day. The result was that, even though it merely slapped the elders’ wrists, the Philadelphia Presbytery rebuked the Tenth Session, and former pastor Phil Ryken, for lying to church members.

Nothing like leading by example, eh?

Duggan’s “executive” knowledge

Also in the mix is Duggan’s claim to gnosis or secret knowledge about Goligher’s misconduct, which he claims is “executive” in nature.

Folks, rest assured. Based on what we know of Goligher, we’re prepared to wager that any secret information is not favorable to Goligher. 

No, he did not invent a cure for cancer. Neither did he save the Republic from its enemies. He can’t even keep his marriage vows or respect others’ marriage vows, so spare us. 

Moreover, as Christians, we are called to bring light to the darkness. Duggan’s claims of “executive” knowledge fly in the face of the mandate that we be truth-tellers.

Happened before he got there

Next up is Duggan’s sleeping beauty defense, which centers around the notion that he wasn’t there when various forms of abuse happened at Tenth.

Sorry, folks, that dog isn’t gonna hunt. 

We see that line in the Episcopal Church all the time: That happened before I got here.

But that is one of the great BS lines of all time. Organizations and their leaders are responsible for all of the behavior involved, not just what happens on their watches. 

Consider: If I am CEO of a corporation, and the corporation is found liable for a Superfund site, do the corporation and I as an officer have responsibility to remediate the site? Even though it “happened before I got there?” Can we be liable?

Of course, the answer to all three questions is yes. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous, inconsistent with foundational notions of justice and fair play, and outside basic understandings in our Western legal system. 

In other words, the “Who me?” and “I was just following orders” routines didn’t work in Nuremberg, and they don’t work now. They are nothing but thinly veiled spiritual abuse.

When in doubt, conflate

Then we turn to Duggan’s conflation of investigation with charges, which seems deliberate. 

In his comments on Bayly’s blog, Duggan makes clear that the only thing happening behind the scenes is that the Presbytery is “investigating.” 

But as Bayly and others point out, there’s plenty of evidence around several key issues:

  • The Tenth Session has lied repeatedly to church members.
  • The Tenth Session has been rebuked previously for its lies.
  • Liam Goligher and George McFarland have lied repeatedly to church members.
  • Liam Goligher, George McFarland, and Susan Elzey have lied not only about the Goligher/Elzey extramarital affair but also about whistleblower Phil Snyder and his behavior.

In other words, there is more than enough evidence to proceed with charges. No investigation is needed.


Speaking of, while Duggan is quick to reject truth-tellers and their motives out of hand, he’s inconsistent and dishonest on these issues.

Goligher gets the benefit of the doubt despite the fact that Duggan has to know that Goligher lied to him and the Session. 

Yet in the case of Phil Snyder, where there is even video evidence to refute the church’s claims, that’s not enough for Duggan to call for an investigation or charges. That is shameful, and his refusal to tell the truth makes it clear he’s a follower of Goligher, not Jesus Christ. 

In fact, there’s a phrase for Duggan and his milquetoast brand of Christianity: Lying by omission.

And lest anyone think that Duggan is the only culpable party in this sordid mess, the fact that Session is livid that we got a copy of the GRACE report should tell readers all they need to know about the church’s true intentions. Those intentions don’t involve integrity, disclosure, accountability, and healing.

Instead, the church is looking to slither past issues, even as it hopes people will forget about its transgressions.

We remind folks at Tenth: Any church that has to lie to survive isn’t one worth having. Feel free to quote us.

So, we’ll make this simple: It’s time for Duggan to grow a spine and file a complaint with the Presbytery about the lies of Goligher, McFarland, and others and demand that they repent of their treatment of Phil Snyder.

In fact, we’ll even draft language for him. We can start there, and deal with other issues in turn. And there’s plenty to be done.

And yes, we get that Goligher, who appears to be a narcissist, probably is challenging to pin down, elusive, sneaky, and charming by turns. They all are. 

Further, we get that telling the truth may cost Duggan the (dubious) privilege of worshipping in the toxic crock of goo that is Tenth Presbyterian. But in the words of Sir Thomas More, the Catholic martyr, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world if he loseth his soul?”

It’s time for Duggan and the rest of his ilk to give up the childish, manipulative, and downright stupid defense of Goligher, even as they ignore the genuine pain and suffering the church has caused to Phil Snyder and many others. That’s what Jesus would do. 

Susan Elzey

Finally, while we’re on the topic, let’s call a spade a spade. If Duggan is so interested in shielding Goligher from his misconduct, he can do the same for Susan Elzey.

To be clear, we doubt anyone would accuse us of being fans of Susan Elzey.

On that score, they are correct, and we will never publish the whole gamut of our negative thoughts about Elzey and her manipulative, deceitful, hateful behavior–which she attributes to the grace of God, even as she bloviates about “instilling values” in her kids. Let’s hope not.

But sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If Duggan is willing to run interference for Goligher — not particularly deserving of anything beyond condemnation — he should be willing to extend the same discourtesy to Elzey.

To be clear, Duggan is far from the worst of the bunch. But he gets special recognition for his spirited and foolish defense of evil on Goligher’s part, a true wolf in sheep’s clothing.

We’re also prepared to bet that others, besides the elder we already have identified, knew or had reason to know of Goligher’s extramarital affair. Indeed, it’s very rare for a situation like this to go unnoticed over time in a church setting. So we believe that Tenth’s integrity issues extend far beyond its recent misconduct, both in time and scope.

Simply put, this is a toxic church, with a toxic Session, and part of a toxic presbytery.

We encourage others to avoid this church at all costs until it comes clean and owns up to its egregious, ongoing misconduct. Tenth is a nest of vipers and a whitewashed tomb—pretty on the outside, reeking of death and corruption on the inside.


  1. i dealt with this clown on the phone he is useless and yes man for tenth. he has destroyed multiple family’s including mine and i do not even attend tenth. i have family that attends there and they listen to every word he tells them as truth.

  2. For some reason you said I need to resign already, though I was only ordained in 2021, and other elders, ordained even in 2023 should also resign, because somehow we are guilty as well like the “sin of achan” for events that happened while I was simply a member. I have first hand recollection of elders and LG explaining the older matter to us, and first hand recall of attending the presbytery meeting where the session self-accused and was reprimanded by the presbytery.
    the problem is that no elders like duggan have the guts to stand up to mcfarland and others. they fear they might end up like other victims who have spoken out about the actions at this church. 25 years of looking the other way is shameful. the actions here are like the pharisees.

    1. “Some reason?” We believe our reasons were expressly described. However, to recap:

    2. We are all too familiar, as are folks at The Wartburg Watch, with your blind and unseemly defense of Liam, as well as your claim of “executive” gnosis.
    3. Second, when human suffering is involved, “that happened before I got here” doesn’t cut it.
    4. Third, fearing you’ll get kicked out of a corrupt church is entirely muddle-headed.
    5. Fourth, we see no signs of corporate repentance for the sins against, inter alia, Phil Snyder. So when we see you and the rest of this brood of vipers actually repent, we can explore the details. Until then, don’t bother. You’re wasting your time and ours.

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