On July 20, Archbishop Jose Gomez directed a memo to bishops in the US. In the message, he announced the resignation of Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, the General Secretary of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) since November. Archbishop Gomez added that the monsignor’s resignation is immediate and cited “possible improper behavior,” referencing his presence in gay dating apps.
Archbishop Jose Gomez is the current president of the USCCB. Gomez is the fifth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. In his memo, the archbishop insisted that the initial reports they received regarding Msgr. Burrill “did not include allegations of misconduct with minors.” The statement is an indirect yet striking admittance of the plague of pedophilic priests in Catholic churches worldwide. Gomez explained that the reason why the conference accepted Msgr. Burrill’s immediate resignation is for him not to become “a distraction to the operations and ongoing work of the Conference.”
Being General Secretary allowed Burrill to hold and organize various administrative functions within the conference. Preceding his recent role, Burrill was the Associate General Secretary from 2016 until he was elected to General Secretary in 2020. He also serves as a priest and is currently part of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Before his high-ranking positions in the Catholic Church in the US, he also worked in Rome at the Pontifical North American College.
William Patrick Callahan — Diocese of La Crosse bishop —, after working with Msgr. Burrill, expressed that he and his diocese are “saddened to hear the media reports.” Bishop Callahan was referring to an investigative report released by The Pillar, a Catholic news outlet.
In a report, The Pillar claimed to have found evidence that the monsignor engaged in and maintained a “serial sexual misconduct, while he held a critical oversight role in the Catholic Church’s response to the recent spate of sexual abuse and misconduct scandals.”
The gravity of the allegations demands a heavy toll on Burrill’s function and role. It also presents a public relations storm for the USCCB amidst the already deteriorating image of the Church.
His phone app data showed daily use of Grindr from 2018 until 2020. This everyday use occurred in his office at the USCCB and USCCB-owned residences. Msgr. Burrill also visited “private residences” related to his use of Grindr. It also showed he frequented gay bars.