Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Msgr. Jeffrey D. Burrill, a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis., is pictured at the USCCB headquarters in Washington Nov. 17, 2020, during the bishops' virtual fall meeting. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

A former high-ranking official at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who resigned following allegations that he logged onto a dating app has a new assignment.

Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill will serve as administrator of St. Teresa of Kolkata Parish in West Salem, Wisc., Bishop William Callahan announced in a statement.

“Monsignor Burrill has recently come off an extended leave from active ministry,” the statement reads. “During his leave from active ministry, Monsignor Burrill engaged in a sincere and prayerful effort to strengthen his priestly vows and has favorably responded to every request made by me and by the Diocese.”

A former high-ranking official at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who resigned following allegations that he logged onto a dating app has a new assignment.

Last July, Monsignor Burrill resigned unexpectedly from his position as general secretary of the U.S.C.C.B. because of pending media reports about “inappropriate behavior.” He was elected to the position in November 2020. Shortly after, the Catholic website The Pillar published a story that claimed to have data showing Monsignor Burill had logged onto Grindr, a dating app used by gay men, during periods of several months in 2018, 2019 and 2020 from his home and office in Washington, D.C., as well as from a family lake house in Wisconsin and from other cities, including Las Vegas.

[Tabloids, scandal and spying: The U.S. Catholic Church has hit a new, dangerous low point.]

Bishop Callahan said in his statement that he has “every confidence” in returning Monsignor Burrill to ministry and noted that the priest has not been accused of breaking any laws.

“I have every confidence in returning Monsignor Burrill to active ministry and in his ability to accompany the people of God of this great parish as together you journey toward a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ,” Bishop Callahan wrote.

Some church observers questioned The Pillar’s decision to publish the story, in part because it did not disclose where it obtained the data, and accused the outlet of conflating homosexuality with pedophilia, a charge the editors denied. Others worried what the publication of the story meant for the future of the church and for journalism.

“What are the implications for Catholicism if the traditional surveillance of theological ideas and pastoral practice by Church authorities is replaced by the high-tech surveillance of moral failings by freelance journalists?” asked Peter Steinfels in The Atlantic shortly after the story broke. “The implications for journalism and personal privacy are serious.”

The latest from america

And when the trembling shook the entire house it woke me into shock
LukeMay 28, 2023
Greg Chisholm, S.J., gestures while giving a homily
In the inaugural episode of Preach, host Ricardo da Silva, S.J., speaks with Greg Chisholm, S.J., about advice he received as a young priest, then Father Chisholm gives his homily for Holy Trinity Sunday.
PreachMay 28, 2023
photo of stained glass window depicting a dove
A Reflection for Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter, by Jill Rice
Jill RiceMay 27, 2023
Sister Lucía Caram, an Argentinian nun living in Spain, has made 18 journeys to the war-torn country over the past 15 months, usually bringing humanitarian aid and returning home with refugees or wounded soldiers.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 26, 2023