USCCB Secretary General Unexpectedly Resigns After “Looming Media Reports Alleging Possible Inappropriate Behavior”

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Mgr. Jeffrey D. Burrill, secretary general of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops since November, resigned his post after the USCCB “became aware of imminent news articles alleging inappropriate behavior by Bishop Burrill”, said Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the USCCB.

In a July 20 note to the bishops, Bishop Gomez declared that he had accepted Bishop. Burrill’s resignation, effective immediately.

“What was shared with us did not include allegations of misconduct with minors. However, in order to avoid becoming a distraction to the ongoing operations and work of the conference, Monsignor resigned,” said the archbishop.

“The conference takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and will take all appropriate steps to address them,” he said.

In consultation with the executive committee of bishops, Bishop Gomez appointed Father Michael JK Fuller, associate secretary general, to serve as interim secretary general “until the election of a new secretary general by the body of bishops”.

Father Fuller, a priest of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois, was appointed associate on November 19. The priest worked as the Executive Director of the Doctrine and Canonical Affairs Secretariat of the USCCB since August 2016.

“I ask for your prayers for Monsignor and for the conference staff during this difficult time,” Archbishop Gomez said. “We also pray that all who are touched will find strength and comfort in our merciful Lord.”

A priest from the diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Mgr. Burrill being appointed secretary general after the result of the bishops’ vote was announced on November 16, on the first day of the USCCB’s fall annual general meeting. He was associate secretary general of the conference since March 1, 2016.

Prior to his appointment to the USCCB, Msgr. Burrill was the pastor of St. Bronislava Church in Plover, central Wisconsin for three years. He was at the Pontifical North American College in Rome from 2009 to 2013, initially as Director of Apostolic Formation, then as Carl J. Peter Chair in Homiletics, Formation Advisor and Director of Relations with the media.

He was ordained in 1998 for the diocese of La Crosse. He was pastor of the parishes of Sainte-Marie, in Duran, Saint-Rosaire in Lima, and Sacré de Jésus in Mondovi, Wisconsin, from 2001 to 2009. He also taught and was chaplain at the high school and at the Regis college in Eau Claire. , Wisconsin, for two years before his parish assignments.

In addition, he was regional vicar for six years, served two terms on the council of diocesan priests and was also ecumenical officer of the diocese and member of the seminary admissions committee.

Native of Marshfield, Wisconsin, Msgr. Burrill holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, adjacent to the campus of St. Mary’s University, Minnesota, Winona, and a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 1999 he obtained a BA in Ecumenical Theology from the Angelicum, or Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, which is also in Rome.

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