The Catholic Church has undergone a number of scandals over the last several years, and now there’s this: A series of reports, first published last month, found that a number of priests from all parts of the Church’s hierarchy are or have used the gay hook-up app Grindr.
As per The New York Times, the Catholic blog The Pillar got access to cellphone data from the Archdiocese of Newark and discovered that, despite their vow of celibacy, a number of priests were using hook-up apps between 2018 and 2020. The only app named specifically was Grindr, which caters exclusively to gay and bisexual men.
There are some troubling aspects to the report. One is the mining of cellphone data, which could be seen as violating privacy. (The Pillar has so far refused to reveal how they obtained their data.) Another is the singling out of homosexual or queer priests. As per NYT:
The reports have been criticized by Catholic liberals for tying the general use of Grindr to studies that show minors sometimes use the app as well. That conflation of homosexuality and pedophilia is part of a longstanding effort by Catholic conservatives to blame the church sex abuse crisis on the presence of gay men in the priesthood.
The Church is still weighing how it will respond to The Pillar’s claims, and their claims have yet to be confirmed.