Colorado Catholic group spent millions to identify priests on gay apps

priests on gay apps

A Catholic group in Colorado has claimed that it has identified several priests who are using gay dating apps, including Grindr, raising concerns about the church’s position on homosexuality.

The project was carried out by conservative non-profit Catholic Laity and Clergy for Renewal.

The group has reportedly spent at least US$4m (NZ6.5m) on the project and shared the information with bishops across the country, reported the Washington Post.

The Renewal group’s president, Jayd Henricks, posted a first-person piece on the site First Things, saying he was proud to be part of the group, whose purpose was “to love the Church and to help the Church to be holy, with every tool she could be given,” including data.

Henricks said: “It’s not about straight or gay priests and seminarians.

“It’s about behaviour that harms everyone involved, at some level and in some way, and is a witness against the ministry of the Church.”

The project’s aim, according to tax records, is to “empower the church to carry out its mission” by giving bishops “evidence-based resources” with which to identify weaknesses in how they train priests.

Participants in the Renewal project were also said to be involved in the outing of a prominent Catholic pastor.

Monsignor Burrill resignation

Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill stepped down from his post as secretary general of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in July 2021 after a Catholic news site, the Pillar, used commercially available data to track his use of gay hook-up apps and visits he paid to a gay bar and bathhouse.

Burrill’s resignation and the latest discovery of mobile app tracking is raising alarms among LGBTQ+ advocates and privacy specialists who decry it as an invasion of privacy that is targeting vulnerable people.

“Revealing information that harms a person’s reputation without an objectively valid reason – even if it’s true – is considered a sin,” said a USCCB member who knows Burrill and described the “intense emotional distress” he endured after his Grindr online activity was outed.

In 2021, Pillar editor JD Flynn defended their reporting, saying a priest shouldn’t be on Grindr for the same reason a priest shouldn’t ride alone in a car with a child.

Grindr spokesman Patrick Lenihan said the connections are harmful.

“We are infuriated by the actions of these anti-LGBTQ vigilantes.

Grindr has and will continue to push the industry to keep bad actors out of the ad tech ecosystem, particularly on behalf of the LGBTQ community,” Lenihan said. “All this group is doing is hurting people.”


The Washington Post

The Guardian

CathNews New Zealand

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News category: World.

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