High-ranking priest furloughed for allegedly using Grindr dating app reassigned to Wisconsin parish

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A former top official of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who resigned over allegations he hooked up on a dating app has a new mission.

Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill will serve as trustee of St. Teresa of Kolkata Parish in West Salem, Wisconsin, Bishop William Callahan announced in a statement.

“Bishop Burrill recently left an extended leave from active ministry,” the statement read. “While on leave from active ministry, Bishop Burrill engaged in a sincere and prayerful effort to strengthen his priestly vows and responded favorably to every request made by me and the diocese.”

A former top official of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who resigned over allegations he hooked up on a dating app has a new mission.

Last July, Bishop Burrill unexpectedly resigned as USCCB General Secretary due to pending media reports of “inappropriate behavior.” He was elected to the position in November 2020. Shortly after, the Catholic website The Pillar published a story which claimed to have data showing that Monsignor Burill had logged into Grindr, a dating app used by gay people. , for periods of several months in 2018, 2019 and 2020 from his home and office in Washington, D.C., as well as from a lakeside family home in Wisconsin and other cities, including Las Vegas.

[Tabloids, scandal and spying: The U.S. Catholic Church has hit a new, dangerous low point.]

Bishop Callahan said in his statement that he had “full confidence” in Bishop Burrill’s return to the ministry and noted that the priest has not been charged with breaking any laws.

“I have every confidence in Bishop Burrill’s return to active ministry and in his ability to accompany the people of God in this great parish as together you journey into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. “, Bishop Callahan wrote.

Some church watchers questioned The Pillar’s decision to publish the story, in part because it did not reveal where it got the data, and accused the outlet of confusing homosexuality with paedophilia, a charge the editors denied. Others worried about what the publication of the story meant for the future of the church and for journalism.

“What are the implications for Catholicism if the traditional oversight of theological ideas and pastoral practice by church authorities is replaced by high-tech oversight of moral failings by independent journalists? asked Peter Steinfels in The Atlantic shortly after the story appeared. “The implications for journalism and privacy are serious.”

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