The Washington Post

The Catholic Church is clear


The March 12 front-page article “Grindr app data mined to expose gay priests” said that Catholic Church “law requires priests not to have sex, but church leaders have long disagreed about what that literally means, long before the complex digital era. Experts disagree whether actions such as having a hookup app on your phone, engaging in sexual talk on an app or watching people have sex at a bathhouse qualify under church law as sex.”

Catholic moral theology has been consistent throughout the church’s history about the obligation to live chastely. Chaste living includes not entertaini­ng impure thoughts, not watching pornograph­ic or sexually provocativ­e films or live performanc­es, and not looking to spend time with people who are likely to seek illicit sex with you. Canon 1395, §2 states “A cleric who has offended in other ways against the sixth commandmen­t of the Decalogue, if the offense is committed in public, is to be punished with just penalties, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state if the case so warrants.”

App usage is not private. There can be no reasonable expectatio­n that what is said or written will remain private and never become public, including by being shared with a third party by those with whom one communicat­es on the app. The purpose of the Grindr app is to let other people using the app at the same moment know of one’s physical location and one’s desire to meet people in order to engage in sexual activity. Gerald E. Murray, New York The writer is a priest at Holy Family Church.

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