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A Catholic nonprofit in Colorado spent millions on hookup app data to identify gay priests: report


A Denver-based Catholic nonprofit organization spent millions of dollars to buy tracking data from gay dating apps to identify gay priests. They then shared that information with bishops across the country, new research has found.

Catholic Laity and Clergy for Renewal, a group whose goal is to “empower the church to carry out its mission” by providing church leaders with “evidence-based resources” so they can better train priests after identify its weaknesses, obtained monitoring data from popular dating and hookup apps from 2018 to 2021according to an investigative report published Thursday by The Washington Post.

The data allegedly acquired by the group involved users of Grindr, Scruff, Growlr and Jack’d, apps primarily used by gay and bisexual men, as well as OkCupid, according to the report.

Two people familiar with the matter told the newspaper they disapproved of the covert effort, which they see as espionage, adding that the project would ultimately damage the image of the Catholic Church.

The group claims to have purchased location and usage data from the apps, and then matched that information with known addresses of the priests, according to the report.

Grindr, the world’s largest LGBTQ social network, says such claims “remain completely invalidated.”

The company says it takes the privacy and security of its roughly 12 million monthly active users “very seriously” and never shares users’ personal information such as geolocation, profile, or even “industry standard data like age or sex”.

“We are furious at the actions of these anti-LGBTQ vigilantes,” Grindr spokesman Patrick Lenihan told the Daily News on Thursday. “Grindr has and will continue to push the industry to keep bad actors out of the ad-tech ecosystem, particularly on behalf of the LGBTQ community. All that group is doing is hurting people.”

Prior to the report’s release, The Washington Post reached out to the Catholic organization for comment. A spokesman said the group’s president, Jayd Henricks, would agree to an interview at a later date, but later did not return reporters’ phone calls or messages.

On Wednesday, Henricks said in a first-person article posted online that the organization has “used data to identify models of parish and diocesan life that are thrivingas well as those who were less successful.

The essay, titled “Working for Church Renewal,” appeared on First Things, a religion and public life magazine published by a nonprofit organization called The Institute on Religion and Public Life.

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