The New York Times now claims that a series of studies performed by the Catholic blog The Pillar have already prompted at least one priest to resign his position: Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill, the former general secretary of the U.S. bishops’ conference. The Times further reports that Catholic officials now worry about privacy concerns of their priests, and of the potential ramifications of journalists and muckrackers tracking their cellular data.
“If someone who has made promise of celibacy or a vow of chastity has a dating app on his or her phone, that is asking for trouble,” said Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin said in a statement of the reporting by The Pillar. “I would also say that I think there are very questionable ethics around the collection of this data of people who allegedly may have broken their promises.”
The reports published thus far by The Pillar only mention Grindr by name, though they do allude to use of other dating apps as well. Thus far, Jeffrey Burrill is the only clergyman mentioned by name.
Editors of The Pillar, J.D. Flynn and Ed Condo, have also refused to reveal just how they obtained the cellular data in the first place.
“Immoral and illicit sexual behavior on the part of clerics who are bound to celibacy, but also on the part of other church leaders, could lead to a broad sense of tolerance for any number or kinds of sexual sins,” Mr. Flynn said in a recent podcast.