NEW YORK — Citing allegations of “possible improper behavior,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday announced the resignation of its top administrative official, Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, ahead of a media report that probed his private romantic life.

Shortly after the announcement, the Roman Catholic news outlet the Pillar published its article based on data it said was “correlated to Burrill’s mobile device” and indicated he had visited gay bars and private residences using a dating app popular with gay people.

The Pillar alleged “serial sexual misconduct” by Burrill — homosexual activity is considered sinful under Catholic doctrine, and priests are expected to remain celibate.

Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, president of the USCCB, said in a statement that conference officials learned of the allegations of possible improper behavior Monday.

“What was shared with us did not include allegations of misconduct with minors,” Gomez said. “However, in order to avoid becoming a distraction to the operations and ongoing work of the Conference, Monsignor has resigned effective immediately.”



“The Conference takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and will pursue all appropriate steps to address them,” he added.

The USCCB did not release any statement or resignation letter from Burrill; its press office said it would let Burrill know that the Associated Press was seeking comment from him.

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and prominent advocate for greater LGBTQ inclusion in the Catholic Church, criticized the Pillar’s report.

“Priests should obviously keep their promises of celibacy. But Catholic journalists should not use immoral means to spy on priests,” Martin said. “Because what comes next? Spying on Catholic school teachers? Spying on parishioners? And where does it end — when we have a church where no one has ever sinned? The church will be empty.”

Burrill was elected in November as the USCCB’s general secretary, a position in which he coordinated a variety of administrative matters. He had served since 2016 as associate general secretary, and before that was a pastor at several parishes in Wisconsin.

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