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Msgr. Jeffrey Burrillusccb.org / screenshot

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 21, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, resigned yesterday just hours before a media report was published alleging that he had “engaged in serial sexual misconduct.”   

The bombshell investigation by The Pillar was based on a presumed massive trove of commercially available data from the gay hook-up app Grindr, which 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 role at the USCCB directing diocesan and conference responses to clerical sexual scandals.  

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The Pillar’s sexual misconduct report on this one priest may well be just the tip of the iceberg based on the presumed wide scope of the data now in the possession of the online publication. So far there is no indication from The Pillar concerning plans for future revelations based on additional incriminating evidence in the data set. 

“Just imagine how many priests that have used the grinder app are freaking out right about now,” Lepanto Institute founder and president Michael Hichborn said in a Facebook post.  

“The revelation regarding Msgr. Burrill is a drop in the bucket on the information contained in that dataset,” he added.

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“Well, friends, this is not just one more corrupt priest,” said Catholic scholar Dr. Janet E. Smith, retired professor of moral theology and a renowned worldwide as an expert on Humanae Vitae.

“I fear his proclivities and activities were well known by those who hired him,” Smith wrote on Facebook. “And it is highly likely that many bishops are using the same apps. So this is huge. There are going to be many sleepless bishops.”

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“Let it sink in that Burrill from 2009 until 2013 was a professor and formation director at the Pontifical North American College in Rome,” Smith wrote in a commentary for Crisis Magazine. “In a lawsuit by a former seminarian, accusations are being made that sexual predation has been common for a very long time at the NAC. I think a new line of investigation has just opened up.”

“Bishops should want to know what immoral activity their priests are engaged in is that the whole diocese is liable for their behavior—for the abuse both of minors and the vulnerable,” asserted Smith. 

“Shouldn’t the bishops welcome this data? Msgr. Burill has a bishop who is his spiritual father. Msgr. Burill’s soul is in mortal danger. His father should want to know what he is doing and help him stop and recommit himself to a chaste life,” she concluded. “For let’s not forget, this is all about souls.”

According to an archived version of Burrill’s now-deleted profile on the USCCB website, “Msgr. Burrill is a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he served as pastor of St. Bronislava Church from 2013-2016.” The bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse recently suspended the faculties of outspoken priest Father James Altman, famous for his viral video “You Can’t be Catholic and a Democrat.”

Phone data: A new frontier for investigations 

While Catholics such as Smith think this is a huge story for the Church, the ground-breaking data-based investigation has also caught the attention of the secular and tech worlds.  

“This is a MASSIVE story,” tweeted Garritt De Vynck, a tech reporter for the Washington Post.    

“Some privacy experts said that they couldn’t recall other instances of phone data being de-anonymized and reported publicly,” noted a report by the Washington Post. “It’s not illegal and will likely happen more as people come to understand what data is available about others.”

Shortly before The Pillar published its report on Burrill, Catholic News Agency (CNA) issued a preemptive article based on anonymous sources. 

“The prospect of private parties using national security-style surveillance technology to track the movements and activities of bishops, priests, and other Church personnel is raising concerns about civil liberties, privacy rights and what means are ethical to use in Church reform efforts,” wrote CNA.  

CNA claimed to have been offered in 2018 access to the data set used by The Pillar’s report on Burrill, but turned it down. J.D. Flynn and Ed Condon, founders and editors of The Pillar, previously worked for CNA. Flynn and Condon are canon lawyers.

Leftist Catholics, organizations freaked out by the Burrill revelations

Apparently appalled that the revelations about Burrill’s serial homosexuality were made public, far-left and pro-LGBT Catholics condemned The Pillar, attempting to ward off future reports by suggesting that both the investigation and publication of the Burrill report were unethical.  

“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.”

In a separate Twitter thread, Martin suggested a priest with a high-powered job for the USCCB might be considered a “vulnerable” person: “These witch hunts, usually aimed at vulnerable people working for the church, or targeting people that the authors don't agree with or simply don't like, must end.’

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PETITION: Urge U.S. Bishops to publicly excommunicate Joe Biden (and other pro-abortion politicians)
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PETITION UPDATE (9/3/21)

Following the US Supreme Court's decision to allow Texas' Heartbeat Law to go into effect, Joe Biden made the announcement that he would initiate a "whole-of-government" response against the new pro-life statute which could ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

This is yet another, outright confirmation of Biden's openly pro-abortion policies, policies which have the main objective of ensuring that women will continue to be able to kill their own children without impediment.

This anti-life, anti-Catholic stance needs to be urgently addressed and condemned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For the good of the Church, for the good of pre-born babies, for the good of the faithful, and, indeed, for his own good, Joe Biden needs to be publicly rebuked by the bishops and excommunicated until such time as he repents from his pro-abortion policies.

Please continue to SIGN and SHARE this petition, which asks the bishops of the United States to act in unison to exclude Joe Biden from Holy Communion for his scandalous promotion of abortion - the murder of the innocent.

After signing, please take a moment to CONTACT the offices of the USCCB to politely, but firmly, encourage the Conference to take the necessary steps to exclude from Holy Communion public officials who continue to show blatant disregard for innocent human life and the Church's teaching.

The USCCB's Office phone number is: 202.541.3000

Thank you!

_____________________________________________________________________________

"No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." - Matthew 6:24

In the lead-up to their meeting in mid-June, we call on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to exclude Joe Biden and other “Catholic” politicians (like, Nancy Pelosi) from Holy Communion over their public, obstinate, and scandalous promotion of abortion.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks the USCCB to act to stop the abuse of the reception of the Holy Eucharist by politicians who promote the murder of innocent pre-born babies.

We know that making a decision to exclude public figures from Holy Communion is not easy. But, sometimes, this is the only way to make them understand the error of their ways, and to preserve the Church from serious scandal.

Indeed, Canon Law (Canon 915) declares that those who persist in manifest, grave sin should not be admitted to Holy Communion

Beyond that, at this point, public excommunication appears as the only suitable response for Biden's obstinate, public and grave sin of promoting abortion.

In doing so, we do not hold ourselves up as judges over Joe Biden's eternal soul, but we encourage the bishops to make known one of the consequences of public and obstinate support of abortion by our 'Catholic' politicians.

The fact is, in terms of the manifest, grave sin of abortion, Joe Biden is as bad as he said he would be before the election.

Therefore, it is cold comfort that the USCCB is only preparing to discuss this issue only now.

But even now, if the USCCB publicly excommunicate Biden for his pro-abortion stance (as well as other pro-abortion politicians), the Conference could reclaim some of the moral authority which they lost by their largely silent assent to Biden's candidacy.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition, now.

Since Joe Biden was sworn-in on the 20th of January, he has wasted no time in signing orders and bills which facilitate the destruction of unborn human life.

  • In one executive order, Biden rescinded the Mexico City Policy prohibiting the federal government from spending taxpayer monies on abortion and the promotion of abortion.
  • Biden also signed (instead of vetoing) the COVID relief bill, which, for the first time in 44 years, contained funding for abortions in America, using taxpayer dollars.
  • Biden said that he wouldn't defend Hyde, and he hasn't.

And, if he and the Democratic Party get their way, a lot more of the same regarding abortion is on the way.

Strong action must be taken lest anyone, especially young people, be confused by the scandal of a "Catholic" in Biden's position aggressively promoting abortion, enabling the killing of innocent human beings.

American rank-and-file Catholics don't want any more compromise and equivocation from the Bishops Conference on this "pre-eminent" life-and-death issue.

We want clear action, not twenty more years of dithering and "dialoguing."

50 million babies have been lost to abortion in the U.S. since Roe!

So, we will NOT accept any more lives lost as a result of dithering and "dialoguing." [**Please see "Notes" below about how it has been reported that some senior U.S. clerics are trying to prevent this discussion from even taking place.]

And, we will especially NOT accept one life lost to abortion by politicians who claim the Catholic Faith, but who promote grave evil. God forbid!

With all due respect to these bishops, they diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by not imposing public canonical penalties on a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

The bishops are now at a crossroads and must choose either God or mammon.

We call on them to choose God and choose Life!

And we also continue to encourage those brave, true and good bishops who have done well to warn Amercian Catholics about the perils to the unborn and the Faith resulting from Biden's promotion of abortion!

SIGN and SHARE this petition, which asks the bishops of the United States to act in unison to exclude Joe Biden from Holy Communion for his scandalous promotion of abortion - the murder of the innocent.

After signing, please take a moment to CONTACT the offices of the USCCB to politely, but firmly, encourage the Conference to take the necessary steps to exclude from Holy Communion public officials who continue to show blatant disregard for innocent human life and the Church's teaching.

The USCCB's Office phone number is: 202.541.3000

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Joe Biden: I support abortion ‘under any circumstance’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/joe-biden-i-support-abortion-under-any-circumstance

Biden administration has opened the way for ‘abortion by mail on a massive scale’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-administration-unleashed-by

‘Catholic’ Biden marks Roe v. Wade anniversary with pledge to make abortion available for ‘everyone’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-biden-marks-roe-v-wade-anniversary-with-pledge-to-make-abortion-available-for-everyone

BREAKING: DC archbishop affirms he will give Holy Communion to pro-abortion Joe Biden - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-dc-archbishop-affirms-he-will-give-holy-communion-to-pro-abortion-joe-biden

Vatican puts brakes on US bishops confronting problem of pro-abortion Biden receiving Holy Communion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-puts-brakes-on-us-bishops-confronting-problem-of-pro-abortion-biden-receiving-holy-communion

Abp. Aquila backs call for pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ Joe Biden to be denied Holy Communion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abp-aquila-backs-call-for-pro-abortion-catholic-joe-biden-to-be-denied-holy-communion

Cardinal Burke floats ‘excommunication’ for Biden over his ‘aggressive’ abortion promotion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-burke-floats-excommunication-for-biden-over-his-aggressive-promotion-of-abortion

Biden’s HHS is lying about Title X to push abortion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/bidens-hhs-is-lying-about-title-x-to-push-abortion

List of US bishops for and against denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians like Biden, Pelosi - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/list-of-us-bishops-for-and-against-denying-communion-to-pro-abortion-politicians-like-biden-pelosi

Notes about USCCB's June Meeting:

For nearly twenty years, the US bishops have been dithering about whether or not to excommunicate pro-abortion politicians by formally withholding Holy Communion from them.

Their indecision on this gravely scandalous matter is a scandal in itself, but one of the biggest obstacles has been internal opposition from senior U.S. bishops.

And, although the faces have changed in the last 20 years, their morally-and-intellectually-challenged arguments against excommunication have not changed.

Liberal bishops of the USCCB say that excommunicating Biden (for example) would divide the Church, divide the bishops, and would politicize the reception of Holy Communion.

Indeed, in the name of “unity,” it is reported that some senior U.S. clerics, including Cardinal Blase Cupich (Chicago), Cardinal Wilton Gregory (Washington, DC) and Cardinal O’Malley (Boston), have been working overtime to prevent any substantial discussion of so-called “Eucharist coherence” (that is, what qualifies as worthy reception of Holy Communion).

It is also reported that at least 57 other American bishops allegedly joined these Cardinals in a recent letter to the Head of the Bishops Conference, Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, to try to pressure him to drop the planned discussion at the full meeting of bishops in June.

And now, even the Vatican is getting involved, with the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith suggesting that even more “dialogue” is needed.

These same clerics may mistakenly believe that any attempt to suppress the objective connection between a politician’s promotion of abortion and his unworthy reception of Holy Communion will fool anyone.

But, it will not.

Rank-and-file Catholics are not stupid and can smell compromise a mile away, and we’ve had enough.

With all due respect to the Cardinal, bishops, and the Vatican…those who fail to act diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by “dialoguing” with a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition urging the bishops Conference to take action at their June meeting to exclude pro-abortion Joe Biden and other abortion-promoting “Catholic” politicians from Holy Communion.

***Photo Credit: Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

  Hide Petition Text

“They are not coming from God and they are in no way ‘Catholic,’’ he asserted. 

“The Pillar investigation of Monsignor Burrill is unethical, homophobic innuendo,” blared a Religion News (RNS) headline. “The hook on which this story hangs is a long-discredited link between sexual abuse and homosexuality.”

The majority of sexually abusive priests prey on teenage boys.

Writing for RNS, Steven P. Millies said The Pillar report “heralds a new and even uglier era in American Catholicism.”

“Ultimately today's big story won't be the priest Pillar Catholic outed, but questions about the ethics of data mining and buying mined data to reveal personal information,” tweeted Mike Lewis, editor of Where Peter Is, a liberal blog.

“There's a moral angle and a privacy angle,” continued Lewis. “There are risks and dangers here that we probably can't foresee.”

Other Twitter users, however, pointed out that left-wing Catholics were more upset at Burrill being exposed than at what Burrill did.

Funding questions

Questions also remain about the source of funding for The Pillar’s data acquisition and analysis.  

“Such investigations don't come cheap,” said left-wing Catholic writer Dawn Eden Goldstein, who recently sued the president of the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) for “online harassment” (the case was thrown out).

“Do the site's funders have an enemies list? Do the editors choose to reveal dirt on some folks & not others? Why should we trust their good intentions without knowing their donors?”

“One of the reasons I've been concerned about @NapaInstitute is that a number of its associates have been quietly acquiring data sets that could be combined with cellphone data of the type that The Pillar used to accuse a priest,” said Goldstein in one of two long Twitter threads. 

It remains to be seen what The Pillar will do with the remaining data at its disposal – and which other prominent priests the data may implicate.

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