Fox News’s Father Morris Announces He Is Leaving The Priesthood

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Father Jonathan Morris, a Catholic priest and 14-year religious commentator on Fox News, said Monday he is leaving the priesthood.

Morris announced his decision during Martha McCallum‘s “The Story,” appearing in a suit and tie rather than his familiar clerical collar.

“I believe I am doing what God is asking of me,” Morris said. “As hard as this decision was, I’m doing exactly what I think I should be doing. I’m following my heart.”

Morris, 46, spent 25 years in the Catholic church, entering the seminary at the age of 21.

McCallum, who struggled to leave off “father” as she addressed Morris, said she had some “tough questions,” asking Morris if parishioners should think he abandoned them.

“You took a vow,” McCallum said.

“I felt emotionally trapped,” Morris said. “I said I cannot leave because I don’t want to let people down. I stayed in even though I knew deep down that this was not what’s for me.”

Morris wrote a statement explaining his decision prior to the interview, pointing to the inability to marry and have a family as integral to his choice. McCallum brought this up during the interview, asking Morris if he was leaving the priesthood for someone specific.

“No, there’s nobody that I have in mind for marriage,” Morris said. “There’s no existing relationship.”

McCallum asked Morris if he had ever broken his vows. He told McCallum that he had broken them early after joining the seminary, but before he became a priest. He confessed to his superiors and asked to leave the seminary, but they responded by bumping up his ordination two years.

Morris said he has received tremendous support from his superior, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, to whom Morris formally submitted his request to be relieved of his priestly duties. (RELATED: Priests Who Father Children Should Leave Priesthood, Vatican Official Says)

“I thank God for the past and I ask Him for grace for the future,” Morris said.

“Are you still Catholic?” McCallum asked.

“You better believe it,” Morris replied. “I believed. And I believe.”

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