Catholic activists are tracking priests who secretly use Grindr

Dating app Grindr is once again embroiled in a data scandal. An American organisation is trying to track down priests who are secretly Grindr'ing. By buying millions of dollars in data, Catholic Laity and Clergy for Renewal are hoping to find out which clergy are hiding behind the orange mask. Once caught, they are reported to the church leadership.
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That's what the Washington Post has found out. The organisation gets the millions of dollars for its data purchases from several conservative philanthropists. It does not only concern data from Grindr, but also from apps such as Scruff, Growlr and Jack'd. For this, the group uses data from 2018 to 2021, obtained through companies that buy and sell data. In this way, the organisation hopes to reveal the sexuality of priests but is not aimed at finding out whether American priests violate celibacy.

Grindr has been dealing with a data scandal for some time now. For example, it was revealed last year that the app had been selling its location data to commercial advertising companies for years. The fact that these sensitive data are now also being used for other purposes fuels the criticism of the dating app all the more.

Grindr tells the Washington Post that it stopped selling its location data commercially in 2020. Growlr also stopped doing this last year. Scruff and Jack'd supposedly made their location data unavailable as well. Grindr executive Patrick Lenihan is shocked at the revelations and is "furious" at the activists, saying Grindr will continue to fight to exclude malicious groups from the ad industry.

Yet the damage has already been done. For example, in 2021, with the help of the group, it was revealed that prominent priest Jeffrey Burrill used Grindr. It is also not clear whether the group has made any more victims.

The director of the Catholic Laity and Clergy for Renewal, Jayd Hendricks, says he is "proud" of the organisation. “Our purpose is to love the Church and help the Church to remain holy.” Sources tell the Washington Post that the project should have been kept secret. Hendricks' statement came after the newspaper had asked for an interview several times.

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