Catholic Laity and Clergy for Renewal (CLCR) on Clergy Sexual Immorality: Enough is Enough!

Catholic Laity and Clergy for Renewal (CLCR) on Clergy Sexual Immorality: Enough is Enough!

From The Catholic Thing…

A number of lessons can be drawn from a recent Washington Post story.  On March 9, the Post published a nearly 4,000-word story on the work of Catholic Laity and Clergy for Renewal (CLCR), a non-profit based in Colorado.  CLCR meticulously – and legally – collected publicly available data on clergy usage of Grindr and other hetero and same-sex hook-up dating apps.  It then provided the information to bishops for corrective action.  Similar data reported on by The Pillar forced the resignation of former USCCB general secretary, Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill.

In the Latin rite, diocesan priests make a promise of celibacy.  Religious community priests take a vow of chastity.  The intended result is the same:  The priest commits himself to refrain from sexual relations.  It’s a sacrifice that, properly lived, frees him to devote his life to the service of Jesus Christ, the Church, and her people.  It’s not an easy path.  But having worked in diocesan service for twenty-seven years, twenty-three of them as senior aide to a bishop, I saw again and again the admirable integrity of most priests – the great majority of priests – in living out their commitment faithfully.

And yet the priesthood, just like the laity, is peopled by humans; and humans are creatures with flaws.

The theme of the Post story is familiar: A “secret effort” by “a newly empowered American Catholic right-wing” and “anti-LGBTQ vigilantes” is resulting in “the character assassination” of private individuals.  So a few observations are in order.

First, in a marriage, the man or woman who commits adultery betrays the covenant he or she freely made, and in doing so, lies.  In like manner, the priest who betrays his promise of celibacy violates the trust of the community to which he publicly committed himself.  He lives an ongoing falsehood.  The betrayed party or parties have every right to know they’re being betrayed.

Second, sexual integrity involves more than refraining from illicit genital relations.  It demands a clean spirit and worthy conduct.  Married men who hang out in strip bars, surf porn sites, and use adultery apps behave indefensibly.  Claiming a “right to privacy” in such cases belongs in a Comedy Club act.  Priests who use apps like Grindr do so in a manner not typically related to preaching the Gospel.  They have no excuse for the consequences.

Third, while we’re on the subject of privacy: It no longer exists.  We already live in a surveillance state.  Unlike China, we’ve created it voluntarily.  We still have laws that mitigate the worst online abuses and prevent, so far, the emergence of a tech-enforced social credit system.  But federal authorities and many corporations already have, or can easily get, everything they need to know about my – and your – private life, beliefs, preferences, appetites, and behavior patterns.  I gave it all away, freely (if unthinkingly) with the everyday applications I use on the internet for work, shopping, news, and similar activities.

Four years ago I noted here that:

For all the elevated talk about our American “right to privacy,” the world we actually live in has a bottomless appetite for commerce. And that appetite includes our intimacies and seeks to relentlessly monetize every element of life.  Almost anything we do on a computer or cell phone, no matter how embarrassing or sensitive, leaves an exploitable record that is difficult to expunge. . .

Privacy (despite corporate assurances) can never really be guaranteed. Grindr users enter a localized and identifiable market for commoditized same-sex interactions. The app company watches those interactions and learns. Foreign states aren’t the only entities with an appetite for these data. Nor are they the only ones with the skill and intent to collect and capitalize on them.

If government officials with “secret” lives can be blackmailed, humiliated, destroyed, or simply exposed, why not Hollywood celebrities, star athletes, university presidents, corporate board chairs, and clergy and religious leaders – like denizens of the Vatican and its diplomats? Let that sink in. None of this involves excessive imagination or anxiety. It can happen right here, right now. Sooner or later, it likely will. Little in the digital age is truly hidden.

Fourth, on the matter of “anti-LGBTQ vigilantes” and “character assassination”:  People on Grindr and similar apps assassinate their own characters.  No one else is responsible.  And the last time I checked, Catholic teaching (not to mention Scripture) regards same-sex genital relations and related behavior as gravely wrong and disordered.  As Augustine said, we have the obligation to love the sinner, but also to hate the sin.  There’s nothing at all “vigilante” about lay Catholics – men and women who seek to live their faith honestly – insisting that their priests live by the same religious convictions they preach to the people in their care.

Fifth, for the last ten years we’ve been lectured by supporters of the current pontificate about the destructive legalism and fine-point nitpicking of  “doctors of the law” in the Church.  So it’s just a bit weird for the Post to invoke canon lawyers in suggesting that “simply having Grindr on a phone, as a priest, is not against the Sixth Commandment.”  Technically?  Maybe.  Morally?  No.

Sixth and finally, the overwhelming majority of abusers in the clergy abuse scandal were homosexual men.  Thus the hypocrisy of the Post in its March 9 report – a news organization that revelled in trashing the Catholic Church for its patterns of clergy sexual abuse – is thick enough to rival the Antarctic ice pack.  Illicit homosexual behavior in the priesthood has no claim to “privacy”. . .or moral integrity.

The priesthood deserves our gratitude and respect, but not our blindness.  CLCR’s goal was to work cooperatively and confidentially with bishops to address a real issue in many current dioceses.  The need for the data collected by CLCR is humiliating and regrettable.  But the findings are too important to ignore, and dismissing them on specious “privacy” grounds only compounds the problem.  At this point, enough is enough.   Source – The Catholic Thing…

Editor writes…

It is interesting – on the “eve” (so to speak) of the closure of this apostolate – to read the above right-thinking assessment of the rights of the laity to expose sexual infidelity among the clergy.  On the various occasions, albeit few and far between, when we have published an exposé of such behaviour, no effort was spared to discredit us. The need for such exposé is regrettable, for sure, but with negligent bishops and an effectively complicit pontiff tolerating such infidelity, what else is there for the laity – and concerned, faithful, clergy – to do?  Your thoughts…

Comments (30)

  • editor Reply

    I should mention that the link to the above article arrived in my inbox on the 16th, from one of our very sound priest-supporters. We had those who sought to discredit our reports, as I mentioned in the introduction, but we were also encouraged by several sound priests. So, let’s thank God for those sound and faithful priests – the ones who, thankfully, do not make the headlines! Deo gratias!

    March 18, 2023 at 12:51 am
  • westminsterfly Reply

    It seems no-one in authority is learning any lessons from this. I think a significant amount of bishops are either homosexual themselves, or supportive of the homosexual lifestyle, or truly believe that the Church will soon change its teaching on homosexuality, so they feel there is no point in denying ordination to those who identify as homosexuals, or support the LGBT lifestyle. Note the latest three examples in the UK:

    March 18, 2023 at 11:11 am
    • Lily Reply


      Those three links are shocking but then what else is new. The second one says the name was revealed on the “” but there is no link – is that meant to be this blog? I don’t remember that being revealed but I’ve got a terrible memory.

      March 18, 2023 at 5:22 pm
      • Josephine


        I do remember a thread, it was actually about the English College in Rome and that person was mentioned in it. I can’t remember any details but it was on this blog.

        March 18, 2023 at 8:40 pm
  • Petrus Reply

    My home parish was, at one time, served by not one, but two, homosexual priests. One had been the chaplain to the high school I attended. He eventually left the active priesthood to live a homosexual life. Years later, I met one of the teachers who taught at the school and she enquired after the aforementioned chaplain. I told her that sadly he had left the ministry. I couldn’t believe my ears when she said, “Oh it’s a shame he had to choose between the two.” I think part of the reason the majority of the laity don’t speak out is that they have lost the faith themselves.

    March 18, 2023 at 11:25 am
    • westminsterfly Reply

      I totally agree. Look at that scandalous issue a while back when the ‘gay’ author was stopped peddling his blasphemous and pornographic books in a Catholic school. Most (if not all) of the teachers came out on strike in sympathy with the author. The scandal was extensively reported on this site. Put ‘Simon James Green’ in the CT search engine for all the threads to come up.

      March 18, 2023 at 3:10 pm
    • Faith of Our Fathers Reply

      Petrus I believe ( and in my own ignorance) that most Catholics, certainly the N.O. Mass goeres alone never knew the Faith in the first place . Am just off listening to M. Voris on C. M . about Him saying Archbishop Schneider is in Schism for saying the Pope must be obeyed in wrongs against The Catholic Faith. Voris BTW is certainly now off my Christmas List having used the phrase Mad Trads. As for Priests on Grindr. We all know the story of Monseigneur Grindr put on a year Sabbatical to get His Head or His nether regions back together. Then he’s put in a Parish in the same Diocese where Fr Altman was sacked from. Now we have the Pope more or less saying Celibacy is optional opening the doors for married Priests. Using the old Protestant idea ” Married Priests don’t sexually abuse Boys” we know that Pope Francis but Pedophiles do and always will. I have already said this on Catholic Truth but if I have to go to another Priest for Confession I will first want to know His views on Morals.
      P. S. Sorry ED I forgot to ask our own Priest if General Absolution is still the Norm in Motherwell Diocese.
      God Spare I will ask Tomorrow.

      March 18, 2023 at 9:32 pm
  • editor Reply

    N O T I C E . . .

    A reader in Ayrshire has asked if anyone knows of any home-schoolers in the Ayrshire area with whom she might connect.

    Also, she would like to know if anyone knows of any priests in the area who offer the Traditional Latin Mass.

    Either post the information here, or if you judge it more appropriate, you are welcome to email me on

    March 18, 2023 at 1:44 pm
    • Petrus Reply


      I’m not sure if Fr Robert Mann still offers the TLM? He’s in North Ayrshire.

      March 18, 2023 at 2:29 pm
      • editor


        More than once, I’ve heard of people trying to contact him, without success. I’m not sure if he’s transitioned transferred to another diocese 😀

        March 18, 2023 at 5:06 pm
  • RCAVictor Reply

    I suppose there’s one reliable indicator by which children of the light can guarantee that they are over the target, or even getting near to it: they are being smeared and persecuted by the children of the world.

    In this case, I’d wager that many of the “children of the world” – so-called journalists – are those who have sold their souls to Satan, and are therefore, more specifically, children of the devil. The utter deformity and depravity of these puppets of the Deep State (and the Deep Church, as Abp. Vigano would say) has scarcely, so far, come to public awareness.

    March 18, 2023 at 2:50 pm
    • editor Reply

      RCA Victor,

      You got it in one! If only the faithless faithful would wake up and smell the spiritual danger in which they are wallowing. If only…

      March 18, 2023 at 5:11 pm
  • RCAVictor Reply

    The Judases of the modern hierarchy, who soil Holy Church daily by their crimes and betrayals, seem to have forgotten – or deliberately buried – these words regarding the martyrdom of today’s saint, St. Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem:

    ” A pastor must first acquire a solid degree of interior virtue, before he can safely undertake to labour in procuring the salvation of others, or employ himself in exterior functions of the ministry. He must have mortified the deeds of the flesh by compunction, and the habitual practice of self-denial; and the fruits of the spirit must daily more and more perfectly subdue his passions. These fruits of the spirit are charity and humility, which stifle all the motions of anger, envy, and pride: holy joy, which banishes carnal sadness, sloth, and all disrelish in spiritual exercises; peace which crushes the seeds of discord, and the love and relish of heavenly things, which extinguish the love of earthly goods and sensual pleasures. One whose soul is slothful, sensual, and earthly, deserves not to bear the name of a Christian, much less of a minister of the gospel.”

    March 18, 2023 at 2:57 pm
    • editor Reply

      RCA Victor,

      THAT is what I call a quote! From a saint!

      Let’s hope the clergy reading this, do what I just did and read it again! It’s a pity they don’t allow women to be ordained – I’d be bishop material, no question about it 😀

      March 18, 2023 at 5:09 pm
  • Josephine Reply

    It’s interesting that the CLCR group has launched at this point in time, when you’d think they’d be feeling overwhelmed with these scandals, so more power to them.

    March 18, 2023 at 8:38 pm
  • Cbucket Reply

    I have noticed that the sodomite flag consistently only has 6 colours. They seem to instinctively know that the rainbow (7 colours) belongs to God. They seem to either leave out Indigo or blue.

    Maybe this is a sign that God will not let the devil use his actual rainbow sign but a fake imitation.

    The reason for mentioning this is that in the picture above there are 7. I wonder if that is just that the person wearing it has not noticed.

    March 19, 2023 at 6:52 am
  • Antoine Bisset Reply

    Here is a link to an article that links much permissiveness to our current Pope. It makes unhappy reading.

    March 19, 2023 at 12:43 pm
    • editor Reply

      Antoine, thanks – you must have missed it when that Unherd article was published here a few times recently. Worth reading again, anyway.

      March 19, 2023 at 1:08 pm
  • editor Reply

    N O T I C E . . .

    I am away from my computer today and unable to post a thread to honour St Joseph, as planned, to mark his Feast.

    St Joseph is one of the most powerful saints in Heaven, so feel free to post any tributes or stories of his interventions, miracles worked due to his intercession, on this thread today.

    Happy Feast of St Joseph to one and all!

    March 19, 2023 at 1:13 pm
    • Laura Reply

      Happy Feast to one and all – St Joseph is very powerful. I love the story of the mysterious staircase in Santa Fe

      March 19, 2023 at 7:36 pm
  • editor Reply

    Sad to see no Feast day comments – so I’ve popped back in to post this lovely hymn in honour of the beautiful Saint Joseph.

    March 19, 2023 at 4:40 pm
    • Josephine Reply

      I am missing the St Joseph thread! Happy Feast everyone.

      He is a marvellous saint – I’ve lost count of the times he’s helped me, on request.

      March 19, 2023 at 7:23 pm
  • Faith of Our Fathers Reply

    ED just back from Mass and I asked our Priest was their going to be General Absolution in the Motherwell Diocese for Easter. Now Hear This .
    Bishop Toal has said that Individual Confession is Preferable. But and it’s a big BUT.
    If the Priests in the Motherwell Diocese are to BUSY ( don’t laugh) then YES they can do General Absolution with the Congregation.
    Really it all doesn’t matter now anyhow as the Horrible Swish Arthur Roche has announced that their will be a New Theology of The Mass . O and BTW he said that all on Here haven’t been partaking in Latin Mass as it’s only The Priest with his back to the people who participated in Latin Masses.
    Check out Robert Nugent on YouTube. So there you have it . Basically Roche is saying that all those years when you thought you were at Mass .
    You weren’t. Seems as if lots on here need some General Absolution.
    God Help Our Church.

    March 19, 2023 at 5:42 pm
    • Josephine Reply


      That is terrible about Motherwell Diocese – is there more information available anywhere? I don’t suppose they’re broadcast the General Absolution on the parish websites, or are they?

      March 19, 2023 at 7:24 pm
    • editor Reply


      Thank you for the tip-off. I checked the Motherwell Diocesan website and found the scandal you describe – which I’ve now posted as a fresh thread. God help us all. I thought this particular nonsense had been consigned to the footnotes of Catholic history a while back. Diabolical.

      March 19, 2023 at 8:42 pm
  • westminsterfly Reply

    If ONLY we had some Catholic priests like this Anglican vicar (Calvin Robinson):

    March 20, 2023 at 9:20 am
    • editor Reply


      Calvin is a regular on the GB New Dan Wootton Show, amazingly – given that Dan is an openly homosexual man.

      I often think that he, Calvin, is very close to Catholicism. In different times, with a sound, faithful pontiff and a tad fewer clerical scandals, he’d have converted to the Faith. It is for this and other similar losses to the Church that these modernists will be held accountable at their judgement. Big time.

      PS – no time to watch the video just now – will tune in later.

      March 20, 2023 at 9:41 am

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