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Father Jonathan Morris, a former member of the Legion of Christ, who rose to prominence as a cable-news contributor, has announced that he will ask Pope Francis to be dismissed from the priesthood.

Father Morris had been on sabbatical in recent months. In a statement, Father Morris wrote that leaving the priesthood “is something I have considered often and at length in years past and discussed with my spiritual guides”.

His statement includes that he has “struggled for years with my vocation and with the commitments that the Catholic priesthood demands, especially not being able to marry and have a family.”

While he does mention the desire to pursue marriage and a family, he stressed that his decision was “not about an existing relationship, but rather about the peace and spiritual freedom I trust will come in the future by following God’s will for my life now.”

Morris had served as a contributor to Fox News, had served as the Theological advisor on “The Passion of The Christ”, and as program director of The Catholic Channel on Sirius XM.

While he is requesting to leave the priesthood, he notes “my own experience should not take away anything from the many heroic men and women who are living out their religious vocations with admirable fidelity and fulfillment. I will be in the pews ready to support you, because my faith in God and love for my Church is stronger than ever. I look forward to serving in new ways alongside of you.”

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30 COMMENTS

    • If he was a priest in the Episcopal church and he was a married priest there, he then could convert to the Catholic church as a married priest. The catholic church has over 100 married priest nationwide. If as a catholic priest his wife should die he would not be allowed to remarry, and then would become a celibate catholic priest for life.

      • No, he could not. That maneuver is specifically prohibited. Further, it is something Father Morris would not do, as it would involve not only leaving the Faith, but treating his communion in the Church as no more than the convenience of a reserved seat at a theater. He, at least, has more integrity than that.

        • Yes, he definitely could do exactly as the poster comments. There are more married Roman Catholic priests than you may be aware of. Look into it. I personally attended the ordination of one such wonderful man at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in DC. He was also my RCIA instructor. Previously, he was an Episcopal priest. He is married with a wonderful family.

    • Jesus did say, ” if you cannot leave brother, sister, mother , father, wife, children to follow me then you are not worthy of Me.”
      If priests can’t stay faithful to Christ and His Bride the Catholic Church, how much more difficult it will be for him to be able to stay married to a woman! I always thought he wasn’t faithful to his vows.

    • A priest is not a bachelor. He is married to a two thousand year old Bride. With your thinking, you might as well state that nuns should get married instead of leaving the covent so that they would not have to leave religious life.

    • I would venture to say there are more “issues” he’s dealing with besides marriage. His former superior was a cheating jerk, Wuerl and McCarrick were liars and jerks. How long can one put up with inauthentic superiors ? Have to bounce and this was his time to bounce. Hope he has a happy landing with some rich woman from Manhatten.

  1. “While he does mention the desire to pursue marriage and a family, he stressed that his decision was “not about an existing relationship, but rather about the peace and spiritual freedom I trust will come in the future by following God’s will for my life now.”

    Such nonsense! Jonathan Morris wants to have it all so show him the door. There are still many cowardly priests who have been living a double life at the Church’s expense, for far too long. The separate fund being maintained for children of priests is quite revealing. Please be honest with yourselves and get the hell out!

  2. I would like compensation for a friend whose son was in the Legionaire thing of which Fr Marcial was the leader.living a double life=. He was not ordained and knew he was not set for that life,asked to leave not allowed. Many refusals, like being kidnapped, eventually got out a mental wreck which he still is.
    A huge worry for his mother and family.

  3. FATHER. JONATHAN. MORRIS,,,,,,,,,GOD. PULLS. US. TOWARD. LOVE,,,,,,,,,
    ESPECIALLY. YOU. ,,,,A. MEN. of. the. CLOTH !!!!!!! MAY. YOUR. NEW. LIFE. BE. FILLED. WITH……..EVERYTHING……BRIGHT. and. BEAUTIFUL!!!?!!!!!!
    GOD. IS. ALWAYS. WITH. YOU!!!!!!!!!
    MANY. BLESSINGS!!!!!!!!
    .

    .

  4. Father Morris was a luke- warm advocate…..almost effeminate in my opinion. He was too “pop” and “politically incorrect.” Get someone who has some fight in him.

  5. Father Morris is asking to be relieved of his priestly duties without contributing in any way to the on going scandal of our day.
    We should be grateful for his years of devout services and wish him well in his endeavors.

    • Really. Always felt the diocesan priesthood should allow marriage and allow priests to serve for a certain length of years and then leave if they want and religious orders keep celibacy, permanent vows.

  6. Christ have mercy. Priests are allowed to leave for the pursuit of marriage! WTF is wrong with you people. This isn’t new by any means.

    BTW Elaine, you are quoting Matthew 10:37. Nowhere in there does it say SPOUSES or CHILDREN! WTF?? This is a clear example of someone putting words in Christs mouth…AND misunderstanding them.

    Peter is unquestionably Christs buddy in the NT. He’s mentioned 64 times in four Gospels. Hmmm what else do we know about Peter…

    OH Y EAH…he’s MARRIED! He was Christ most vehement follower, the First Bishop of Rome, HUSBAND and FATHER to a….

    wait for it…

    A GIRL!

    So, historically, if Christ was OK with his best friend being married, WHY the heck would he have a problem with anyone ELSE being married?

    Any self-proclaimed holier than thou members want to reflect on that for a while maybe? Have a prayer, Be Thankful, and understand that Priests have ALWAYS been allowed to leave for the Sacrament of Matrimony.

  7. Oveelooked, as wth any calling in life, a priest must be faithful to the requirements of his vocation to the Priesthood as learned and practiced in his seminar training to become Christlike and share His love with a world empty for Christ. In the words of St. Paul:”For me to live is Christ.” Foremost in this training is a love for Christ in the Holy Eucharist as shown by all the Saints. The very nature of the Church,as Christ calls Himself it’s Bridegroom, requires of a priest to find His Bride in the person of Mary, the Mother of the Church! Functionalism has replaced Spirituality in today’s Church, I.e. how does a priest socially function as a personal in his public dealings. Such a merely social persona hides the Sacramental, Prayerful, Christlike image of the priest whose touching the lives of others will never be forgotten by them because this holy priest has communicated to them the touching of eternal life by communicating to them the Person whom he exemplifies untouched by time Who said:”I AM!”

  8. So, for many years you were thinking about this? You knew FULL well what the priesthood entails. It is NOT a club you join. “God, who has given the impulse to say YES, now wishes to hear NO?” (St. John Paul II) Shame on you.

  9. In the Eastern Churches priests are generally married and the priest’s wife is highly respected, often in charge of the women of the parish. He is no less a priest. The bishops are usually celibate or widower, from the monasteries. Because of the lack of clergy, married candidates often come from the Eastern churches. Christ rejected no one! Many of our clergy are widowers! God bless them all!

  10. So he’s asking for a divorce, basically, from his bride, the Church. He should be able to receive Holy Eucharist as long as he DOESN’T remarry.

    • “Pope” Francis has already spoken on this troubling issue in the Church and he is basically all for it. He basically encourages this renunciation of Priestly vows by saying “if any of my Priests come to me and say they don’t want to do this any more, I say ok” I’m paraphrasing just a little but that is very close to his statement. Saying that is tantamount to encouraging Priests to leave.

  11. Holy Orders is a Sacrament separate from Holy Matrimony. Of the various Rites which comprise the Catholic Church, the Latin Rite is in the minority — most others allow the ordination of a married person. The presence of married priests in the other Rites indicates that the custom of celibacy is not Tradition so much as a choice made by Latin Rite clergy. Even that choice is not bound in stone — for a minister or rabbi who is married and converts to Catholicism may still be administered Holy Orders. Paul states the requirement for a Bishop thusly: in 1 Timothy: “Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity. ”

    From the above, we can take away that a Bishop, a cleric further up in the hierarchy from a priest, may not only be married but have children as well.

    The other side is Paul himself, who stated in 1st Corinthians that it was good to remain single, “But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Hmm.

  12. Dianna Graham……..You are looking at Fr Morris’s situation all wrong. Celibacy has nothing to do with his decision . In addition history has shown us that celibacy IS successful! Celibacy is a gift. A gift from God that must be prayed for! This should be emphasized to any candidate to the priesthood from the very beginning of their journey to the end, i.e., final vows and beyond! There are MANY, MANY, MANY priests and religious around the world that have been and still are successful with procuring this gift and probably on a daily basis . Living a celibate life is required of us all, based on our station in life. In Fr Morris’s case, celibacy has nothing to do with it! Please reexamine your views on celibacy. You will live a much happier Catholic life. It has happened to me and I have been struggling with it every day of my life, up to and including now. Prayer, prayer prayer! God will give you the strength but you must surrender all passion. Christ Peace To You!

  13. It has to be very difficult for Fr. Morris to deal with the founder of his former order being a cheat and a liar, and then dealing with Wurle and Uncle Teddy M. being cheats and liars. Faith can be shaken to the core and one can only pray for a come back.
    As far as married priests, been there done that. We had one in our parish after he converted to RC and he ended up a hot tempered loon who divorced his wife, left the Church, and now states he had a problem with Mary, infallibility, and the Real Presence. Soooo, he became a Catholic priest why ? ? ? Wurle was in charge of these Anglican convert priests by the way. Ahem Ahem. St. Terese’ send a rose to your faithful priests.

  14. We all must make our own decision in our lives. We can’t decide what is right for him. Only he can do that. And I’m pretty sure he’s gay. And that’s fine. I wish him well. No mater who he marries. We only have one life. We need to live it the way we decide. Not everybody else. Notice he never said he had a one time thing with a “ person”. . ? He ne er once said “ woman”. But we shall see.

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