Jonathan Morris Asks Pope Francis to Allow Him to Leave the Priesthood So He Can ‘Marry and Have a Family’

Jonathan Morris announced that he’s asking Pope Francis to allow him to leave the priesthood. (Credit: Photo courtesy of Jonathan Morris.)

Father Jonathan Morris, a former member of the Legion of Christ who was at one time among the most prominent Catholic priests in America as a contributor to Fox News, has asked to be dismissed from the clerical state, indicating he wants to be free to “marry and have a family” though saying it’s not about an “existing relationship.”

In a statement released Friday, Morris writes that the decision has filled him “with newfound joy,” though he says he knows some people won’t understand his decision to leave the priesthood.

“After taking some months of sabbatical to be with family and to dedicate more time to prayer and retreat, I have decided to ask the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to release me from the duties and responsibilities of the clerical state,” Morris said in a statement, which he made available to Crux.

Morris left the troubled Legion of Christ in 2009, three years after the Vatican suspended its founder, Father Macial Marciel, from his priestly duties, having found Maciel guilty of various forms of sexual abuse and misconduct as well as abuse of power. Morris was incardinated into the Archdiocese of New York with the support of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

He’s appeared on several TV networks and is best known for his role with Fox News, though he was also a theological adviser to Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ”, and was the program director for “The Catholic Channel,” a project of the Archdiocese of New York, on the Sirius XM radio network for three years.

Morris said in his statement that the fear of “disappointing people’s expectations” has held him back from taking the step he’s now taking, something he’s considered “often and at length in years past and discussed with my spiritual guides.”

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SOURCE: Crux Now, Inés San Martín