Monday, July 26, 2021

Monsignor with a great deal of influence.

Monsignor Burrill.

For me, this story is similar to the McCarrick scandal - except it doesn't involve minors.  As General Secretary, Burrill had a great deal of influence at the USCCB.  He was the man in charge of sexual abuse policy.

"In 2018, the priest was a member of the USCCB’s executive staff and charged with oversight of the conference’s pastoral departments. He and several senior USCCB officials met with Pope Francis Oct. 8, 2018, to discuss how the conference was responding to ecclesiastical scandals related to sexual misconduct, duplicity, and clerical cover-ups.

Burrill, then second-in-command at the conference, is widely reported to have played a central role in coordinating conference and diocesan responses to the scandals, and coordinating between the conference and the Vatican.

Data app signals suggest he was at the same time engaged in serial and illicit sexual activity.

On June 20, 2018, the day the McCarrick revelations became public, the mobile device correlated to Burrill emitted hookup app signals at the USCCB staff residence, and from a street in a residential Washington neighborhood. He traveled to Las Vegas shortly thereafter, data records show.

On June 22, the mobile device correlated to Burrill emitted signals from Entourage, which bills itself as Las Vegas’ “gay bathhouse.”" - The Pillar

Burrill's use of Grindr, visits to baths and bars, is pretty gay.

It's not like a sort of accidental fall from grace, or a 'slip up' in behavior.  It signals a kind of hardcore activity involving gay encounters and familiarity with the active, gay social milieu.  From what I've read, Grindr is comprised of sexually explicit material.  Years ago, gay newspapers used to have personals columns, along with ads for bars and bathhouse, as well as massage, to facilitate hookups.  Today there is social media.  It takes guts to get involved with people for sex in that way.  The first time one does stuff like that is a bit intimidating.  After practise it gets easier, if you will.  If the app evidence is true, Burrill was seasoned and well practised.  

Having said that, what I'm suggesting is that The Pillar story did not out Burrill, since he is obviously gay.  What the article did do is reveal what is essentially public behavior, albeit clandestine.  Burrill is a public figure, morally compromised and corrupt.  He's a high ranking official in the American Church, responsible for how the Church handle sexual abuse cases and discipline for offender.  It wouldn't be a stretch to bring into question his attitude towards gays in the priesthood, his influence over seminarians and any cover up of a homosexual culture in the priesthood.  

So many questions pop up - for instance, we still have never received the full report on McCarrick.  

Lulled to believe gay is a neutral condition.

Or a third way, which 'if one seeks God' one should not judge.  If we are 'building a bridge' to LGBTQ persons estranged from the Church, those offended that the Church teaches the inclination itself is towards an objective disorder, one ought to let go of any attitude which can be interpreted as homophobic.  Hence, many ordinary Catholics, especially those who embrace Catholic teaching and strive to live chaste, celibate lives, are very careful not to judge, much less identify persons by their sexual preference or proclivities.  Bishops and priests, in a position of power and influence - even at the Vatican - can offer an impression of pastoral care and accompaniment, while privately, that accompaniment entails evangelizing on Grindr, at bathhouses in Vegas, and gay bars around town.

Upon hearing the news of Burrill's resignation, I too jumped to the conclusion that he was unfairly outed and he lost his job due to this invasion of his privacy.  Gradually - I woke up.  The influence this particular monsignor had warranted the report.  He chose to resign and so far hasn't been heard from. The greatest danger his active homosexuality posed is how he may have influenced the Catholic response to gay issues within the clergy and how gay people are treated in the Church.  Is it because of influencers like Burrill that Courage Apostolate is often ignored and bishops prefer Fr. Martin's way of evangelizing?  

As a gay Catholic - living in accord with Catholic teaching - I get it that gay people are protective of one another.  I respect a lot of gay Catholics who oppose the language in Catholic teaching.  I am sympathetic to their claims of homophobia, despite the fact they can look down on people who promote Courage, including those who accept, defend and witness to Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage.  Yet, that's not called homophobia in their literature.  My point is, gay priests and bishops, just like all of us, protect their confreres.  They protest when their secrets are found out.  They cover for them and frequently demonize the messengers.  

I have maintained that The Pillar did nothing wrong.

They alerted the USCCB about their findings and then they published.  It happens all of the time in politics and Church news sources.  If not there - on social media.  There are private citizens, parishioners, coworkers who research the moral lives of bishops, priests and laity.  I've had people search my records, I know people checked public records to see if I was married.  It was only a matter of time that Msgr. Burrill's activity was revealed.  I'm sure a Catholic tabloid like Church Militant is pissed they didn't break the story.  The truth does come out - 'nothing is hidden that will not be revealed.'  To be morally outraged that two guys with a news site published the story is in itself an extension of the same mindset which guided the bishops to cover up the abuse scandal.

The fact the Burrill's private life never included sex with minors, but was consensual between adults, means he didn't commit a crime.  He failed to remain chaste and sinned.  We all sin.  Therefore it will probably get swept under the rug - which is unfortunate, because it is immoral behavior and an indication of deeper corruption.  Catholic teaching is compromised.

I think defunding the USCCB might help.


  1. The bad news keeps coming. The corruption is so deep & pervasive one wonders if it will ever be fully exposed. Why do so many of these clergy who rail against others sins are exposed as projecting their own. They must really hate themselves. I have read statements of sympathy for Monsignor Burrill that he chose a career that denied his true self so he had to live a lie. Seems no one believes in being responsible for oneself any more. So, what will be his next “act.”

    1. I know. I naively thought it was pretty much behind us - I'm serious. I saw a Tweet today from Fr. Martin, encouraging LGBTQ priests and religious - can't recall the words but it included a piece from New Ways Ministry. It virtually cancels Catholic teaching and discipline for admitting homosexuals to religious/priestly life. It cancels Catholic teaching - as per the CDF and the CCC. I normally do not read Rod Dreher, but he gets a lot right in the Burrill case. He wrote what I was trying to say - except I don't use the term 'liberals':

      "What’s really going on here in the Burrill case, I think, is that many liberals don’t believe that it’s a big deal for a prominent Catholic priest, one in charge of policies that affect the entire national church, to violate his vows by having anonymous gay sex. Many conservative Catholics disagree. Flynn and Condon write for them."

    2. Terry - I have found that if anyone or any organization has ties to New Ways Ministry, he, she, or the organization is in error and in defiance of Catholic teaching. Which is more than enough for me to reject whatever premise is being promoted. NWM has been roundly condemned, from bishops of individual dioceses denying them a platform or voice to promote their agenda in the boundaries of the bishop's diocese, to the Vatican, since NWM was officially condemned by Pope Benedict and, I think, St. Pope JPII, and is still under this condemnation.

      It is a big deal for me, and many others in the pews, if a priest betrays his vows of celibacy or if he is spiritually disappointing or defies the Church in its teaching and expectations. He not only lets our Church down - he lets Jesus and his own people down because he puts his desires above their needs, and he does not honor his promises to Jesus.

      I am not a big fan of Fr. Z, although I respect his vocation. But I think he hit the nail on the head when he wondered why Fr. Altman, of the LaCrosse Diocese, was severely punished for his words and actions (rightly or wrongly), but that Msgr. Burrill, also of the LaCrosse Diocese, is, in comparison seemingly being given a slap on the hands for his betrayal of his vocation and of the trust given him by the Pope. He makes an interesting point.

  2. I should add, I don't like the terms 'liberal' and 'conservative'. Just like I don't like terms such as 'woke' or 'cancel culture' although they can be helpful and descriptive, they are misused. When I say I've been lulled into thinking all is just fine in Fr. Martin's POV - that he means well and so on - I guess I woke up. But Woke doesn't mean that. Just like cancel culture - they say rad trad priests are cancelled, but now that a priest like Burrill is out, the messengers are in the process of being cancelled. It seems to me both sides are brainwashed by media. Christ instructs us: "be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves." Simply because even the elect can be deceived, if that were possible.

    1. Very well put, brother. I am in full agreement with this. The only label we should want for ourselves is not conservative nor liberal, nor traditional nor progressive, but *faithful*.

      Yes, there is a lot of manipulation going on, and I see no end to it, sadly. Anyone who chooses to look the other way or only worry about one's own soul does great damage to not only himself but to the Church, since evil, given a stronghold, will only grow and eventually take over.

      Time to call on St. Michael, and to pray for our fellow Catholics and the purity and morality of our beloved Church. God bless and protect you, dear Terry, and all here. - Susan, TOF

  3. I am interested in what, if any, discipline, will be imposed on Msg.Burrill. He did not just act on this desires in a private way. He apparently used his Church monies to secure the services of men in multiple venues. We used to hear about sex addiction as overriding normal self control. If he is not an example I do not know if anyone is. So, what will the Bishops do? I suppose little which just will keep the whole scheme going.

    1. Now - immediately - would be the time for the Church to take an unambiguous, unmistakable, and vocal stand against vice in the Vatican and among the clergy. As a lay person, I am bloody sick and tired of most clergy who are responsible for committing vice and leading others into sin being swept under the rug and protected, freeing them to continue the evil. I am talking about the likes of the former Cardinal McCarrick and others of that ilk, not those priests who haven't been proven guilty of these accusations.

      Apparently the hierarchy thinks we in the laity are ignorant and can be manipulated, and that they can demand we abide by the Church's standards of spiritual behavior, but that they can ignore horrific instances of mortal sin on behalf of the clergy.

      IMHO, this is what is responsible for the rot in the Church, and it breaks my heart to say it. Holy Mother of God, St. Joseph, St. John Vianney, and good St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!

    2. A sad end for Msg. Burrill. May he seek Divine Mercy and not get lost in the crowd.

      Off topic but shocking nevertheless especially for those who cast their vote for this man:

      "Federal court blocks Biden ‘transgender’ mandate (Becket Law)
      Editor's Note: A federal court in Texas has blocked implementation of a Biden-administration policy that would have forced health-care providers to participate in gender-transition surgery, regardless of their moral objections. The Texas court’s ruling in Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra is the second federal court decision against an administration bid to override conscience protection for doctors and health-care institutions."

      Becerra, a hardcore liberal from California, now Biden's right hand man with regards to healthcare ... not at all surprised they would attempt to shove something like this down the throats of those who object.

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  4. As I write on Aug 22, it is amazing how the Burrill story has just gone away. Hard to know what is even happening with him or his vocation. Disturbing.

  5. Seems to me we have met the slippery slop and are on a downward spiral. If the MAGA group are our salvation then we are doomed to a death culture not seen since the Middle Ages. I think of the Bergman movie where people ring a bell to avoid the plague infective. Some embrace death as God’s will and fight culture wars to avoid personal responsibility.

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