Top U.S. Catholic Church official resigns over report linking him to gay bars, Grindr

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) top administrative official has resigned after the organization became aware of allegations that the priest had visited gay bars and used the hook-up app Grindr. 

The USCCB said in a statement first shared by the National Catholic Reporter that it had accepted the resignation of Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, who has served as the group’s general secretary since last fall. 

Archbishop José Gomez, the USCCB’s president, said in a Tuesday memo to all bishops that it was “with sadness” that Burrill had stepped down from his role, adding that the conference was notified Monday of “impending media reports alleging possible improper behavior.” 

USCCB spokeswoman Chieko Noguchi told The Washington Post on Tuesday that it was Burrill’s decision to resign and that the conference was notified of the allegations by Catholic news site The Pillar. 

The Pillar wrote in a Tuesday article that Burrill, a priest from the La Crosse, Wis., diocese, “visited gay bars and private residences while using a location-based hookup app in numerous cities from 2018 to 2020, even while traveling on assignment for the U.S. bishops’ conference.” 

As a priest, Burrill had taken a vow of celibacy, and the Catholic church’s doctrine specifically considers sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriages a sin. Burrill has not responded to reports on the allegations. 

Gomez added in his memo to fellow bishops that the USCCB “takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and will pursue all appropriate steps to address them.” 

“I ask for your prayers for Monsignor, and for the Conference staff during this difficult time,” he added. “We also pray that all those affected might find strength and comfort in our merciful Lord.” 


When reached for comment, Noguchi told The Hill that the USCCB was “first approached about a meeting last week but we were not provided details such as the name of the individual this pertained to, or the nature of the information that was going to be presented to us.”

“It was not until Monday that we were given the name of the individual and information alleging inappropriate behavior,” she added. 

A spokeswoman for Grindr told the Post that The Pillar’s story was “homophobic,” adding that its data could not be publicly accessed, as the Catholic news outlet had reported. 

“The alleged activities listed in that unattributed blog post are infeasible from a technical standpoint and incredibly unlikely to occur,” the spokeswoman said. “There is absolutely no evidence supporting the allegations of improper data collection or usage related to the Grindr app as purported.”

Updated 3:59 p.m.

Tags allegation of sexual misconduct Bishops Catholic Church Grindr The Washington Post U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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