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July 23, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Grindr, the gay hookup app that serves to facilitate anonymous homosexual encounters, condemned the Catholic publication The Pillar for outing one of its users, the now-former Secretary General of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, who apparently “engaged in serial sexual misconduct.”    

In statements made since the bombshell investigation by The Pillar was published Tuesday, Grindr attempted to deny that anonymous customer data it sold could have led to the unmasking of Burrill while also condemning the investigation as “homophobic and full of unsubstantiated inuendo.” 

According to The Pillar report, Grindr was the source of a trove of commercially available data it had purchased that an analyst was then able to link to a mobile device used by Burrill, showing that he “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.”    

The alleged covert homosexual activity by Burrill is especially troubling because of his powerful role at the USCCB directing diocesan and conference responses to clerical sexual scandals.   

In a VICE article headlined “The Inevitable Weaponization of App Data Is Here,” a Grindr spokesperson told VICE’s tech-centered “Motherboard” media channel:  

Grindr's response is aligned with the editorial story published by The Washington Post which describes the original blog post from The Pillar as homophobic and full of unsubstantiated innuendo. The alleged activities listed in that unattributed blog post are infeasible from a technical standpoint and incredibly unlikely to occur. There is absolutely no evidence supporting the allegations of improper data collection or usage related to the Grindr app as purported. 

“It is not clear what Grindr sees as ‘infeasible from a technical standpoint,’” wrote VICE’s Joseph Cox. “In January the Norwegian Data Protection Authority fined Grindr $11.7 million for providing its users' data to third parties, including their precise location data. Almost prophetically, Norwegian authorities said at the time that Grindr users could be targeted with this sort of information in countries where homosexuality is illegal.” 

“Researchers have repeatedly shown that it is possible to figure out who a phone in an allegedly anonymized set of location data belongs to sometimes with a few points of reference, such as their home or place of work,” explained Cox.   

While many rushed to condemn The Pillar for having crossed a new ethical frontier in journalism by using de-anonymized commercially available phone data, it has been done before.   

Commentators are outraged that a priest serving in the upper echelons of the U.S. Catholic Church was outed as an active homosexual, yet they did not express similar indignation when the same sort of strategy was employed to identify people who were present at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. 

“This is the first instance that I know of, of this data being used by a journalistic entity to track a specific person and weaponize their private, secretly collected information against them,” said Bennett Cyphers, a staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization, told The Washington Post.  

“In February, The New York Times' opinion section married location and advertising data to reveal the movements and identities of specific people who attended the January 6 Capitol riots,” noted Cox. 

“While there were no names or phone numbers in the data, we were once again able to connect dozens of devices to their owners, tying anonymous locations back to names, home addresses, social networks and phone numbers of people in attendance. In one instance, three members of a single family were tracked in the data,” according to the Times.  

And it’s not just journalists who are exploiting supposedly anonymous information: The U.S. military, law enforcement agencies, and even the IRS are purchasing it, thereby “skirting the need to obtain a warrant,” according to Vice/Motherboard reports.   

What stands out about the Burrill unmasking “isn’t that it’s improbable but that it’s the exact worst-case scenario privacy experts have been warning about for a long time,” asserted The Washington Post technology reporter Heather Kelly.   

Is this week’s exposing of an active homosexual priest by a Catholic publication truly the “worst-case scenario,” or was the tracking down of many patriotic Americans at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by The New York Times the “worst?” 

Those seeking to normalize and protect homosexuality within the Catholic Church took to social media this week to object to The Pillar story and protect Burrill. 

“This is a disgrace: spying on bishops and priests to see if they're being chaste and celibate,” tweeted Father James Martin, SJ, perhaps the most outspoken force for the normalization of homosexuality and transgenderism within the Roman Catholic Church. The Church teaches that bishops and priests (with the exception of those married before ordination, such as Eastern Rite priests or those in the Anglican Ordinariate) are to be celibate. 

“Of course it's aimed at gay priests, and ‘gay apps,’ which shouldn't surprise anyone,” continued Martin. “It's part of the ongoing witch hunt against gay priests.” 

“The door that Flynn and his bloodhounds opened today is not healthy for the future of the Church,” tweeted Catholic sociologist Rudolfo Soriano Núñez. “The Church does not need a Gestapo disguised as media.” 

“Stop feeding that kind of Catholicism,” he warned the USCCB, “because they are very willing to destroy a person like your former General Secretary, just because he is gay.” 

“The fundamental issue for many is an affection for homosexuality clouding ethics,” tweeted Daniel Kane. “There would be no problem condemning the Msgr if it were Ashley Madison & the priest managing the USCCB's response to sexual crimes/sin attempted 1000 anonymous sexual encounters in 3 yrs with women.” 

“Here's the bottom line: There isn't a living breathing Catholic who understands the crisis in the Church who doesn't know the overriding issue is homosexuality within the clergy and even the bishops,” said Church Militant’s Michael Voris.  “Heck, 10 years ago, The New York Times correctly labeled the Catholic priesthood a gay profession.”

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Doug Mainwaring is a journalist for LifeSiteNews, an author, and a marriage, family and children's rights activist.  He has testified before the United States Congress and state legislative bodies, originated and co-authored amicus briefs for the United States Supreme Court, and has been a guest on numerous TV and radio programs.  Doug and his family live in the Washington, DC suburbs.