Fr. Jonathan Morris asks to be laicized

I know he has been on sabbatical, but this was out of left field.

Prayers for him as he continues in his journey

Wow, I am shocked by that news. I have always felt he was very good at explaining Catholicism to others. I will pray for his happiness, wherever that leads him.


It looks like In order to be married, in the future, he needs approval / dispensation from the Vatican 1st. Why Can't a Priest Ever Marry? | Catholic Answers

I will pray for him. I will admit I have trouble being charitable in cases like these; the priest loses most of my respect when he abandons his vows.


And I am the exact opposite. I have more respect for someone who realizes they made a mistake.
I would rather have a priest leave than be miserable in his vocation.


Sorry, but this FriendlyAtheist take on it is pretty much what it looks like to me when I see this sort of thing.
I’m willing to bet he does have a lady in mind too, even though they may not as of now have a “relationship” for whatever reason.


I am a bit surprised Tis_Bearself that you don’t find that linked article to be distasteful. So many jabs at Catholicism and at Fr. Morris.

Oh, I find it extremely distasteful. I posted it primarily because of the headline, basically priest wants to quit because celibacy proved too difficult (I am using nicer words than the atheists). That’s what I think when I see a priest like this quitting.

We can talk all we want about priests being lonely and so forth, but my feeling is that it comes down to sex. If a priest were simply lonely for friends or even for participation in the life of a family, he could conceivably find solutions to those things without needing to quit the priesthood. It’s about having sex. And the atheists will come out and say so instead of trying to couch it in some sort of more respectful terms.

I hope whatever this high-profile priest is seeking is worth the damage he’s doing publicly to the Church by being unable to sacrifice his will for the Lord’s will, to the point where he thinks it’s the Lord’s will that he take this step. He seems to see this as being just about himself when actually what he’s doing is going to have huge public reverberations. He can’t simply be sent away to separate himself quietly. And we’re all supposed to just be happy for him because he personally feels joy about taking this step?

How about if I, after 20 years of marriage, found another guy I loved and didn’t want to be married to my husband any more and asked to be released from my marriage vows and expected everybody to be happy because of the “joy” I felt in taking this step?

I look at the class of new priests being ordained today here and I pray that they all actually persevere in the priesthood and we don’t get one of them 10 or 20 years later saying, “I’m sorry, this was a big mistake, I should never have committed to this life” or “I was okay with committing to it at the time but now things have changed and I just don’t see this as being the Lord’s will for me going forward”.


Must have been a hard decision for him.

I hate to see priests leave too but if they feel they have lost their vocation or feel they never have a true one then it’s for the best.

Married Catholics get annulments all the time.


With all he went through while being a member of the Legion of Christ, I would think that most would cut him some slack. It must have been a difficult time, and the desire to not disappoint superiors and family is strong.
The man needs our prayers, not our anger.
And he certainly does not need the vile innuendo that the article linked is full of.

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Did he “go through” more as a member (actually an officer of some sort) of Legion of Christ than simply having to deal with a scandal? Priests, and priestly officials, deal with scandals all the time. You are not given a free pass to run out on your commitment when life gets tough. If so, then it would be okay for virtually every bishop now dealing with a scandal to just do whatever and we’d all have to give him a break.

I am sure he will get a lot of sympathy from those who think priests should be allowed to marry because it’s too hard for men to live without sex. He will probably be a poster child for them, if he does marry. Meanwhile, the men who actually work hard to sacrifice and live their vows don’t even get a cookie. Likely they get called weird, or maybe are suspected of “not liking women”.

I am not angry at the man, I don’t even know him, but I am disappointed that a high-profile priest is bringing down more muck on the Church when it’s already got enough problems. I think that’s a very reasonable way to feel. And he knew it would bring down muck.

I would hope he is not going to continue being a Catholic media personality after this laicization goes through.


I am thinking that his formation process was lacking. If the higher-ups at LOC were too concerned about what their leader was doimg to worry about how their members were fairing, I could see where some could slip through the cracks.
I find your attitude disturbing. Marriages are annulled everyday. We don’t know,what was on his mind during ordination. The man needs our prayers not our wrath.

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I find your attitude disturbing. Marriage annulment is not and should not be regarded as an “everyday” thing. You are not guaranteed of having a marriage annulled. You speak of it like it’s Catholic divorce.

In addition, there seems to be a general feeling now when a priest leaves the priesthood that he’s just following God’s will or perhaps there was some good reason for him to leave. These things are never viewed in the sense of “Satan successfully tempted a priest and took him down.” Why is that? Why is it always “Love Wins”?

Here’s an interview from years ago where Fr. Morris talks about his priestly calling:

In particular he says:

How did you discern that you really had a vocation?

It was like falling in love as I grew closer to God. Charity, chastity and poverty are not fun things, but I still felt drawn to do it. The desire to do such hard things is not natural; it’s supernatural. I was going to dive into it until I felt like I should not be there anymore. That feeling never came. All along, I felt God calling me to take the next step.

I guess he’s finally reached the point where he “feels like he should not be there any more”. Either that or he has been lying to himself and everybody else for years.

I see this sort of thing as just another example of people who don’t live up to their responsibilities and promises. Society is full of them. The priesthood and marriage are both suffering as a result. Yet it’s supposed to be perfectly okay and we’re supposed to just be fine with whatever a man decides he should do and support that, if he’s a nice guy. I don’t think so.

I know the Pope is unlikely to refuse him permission to leave, but I just wonder what would happen if the Pope said no. Or if the Pope said, “You can leave, but you can’t get married.”


Yes, I respect him for being able to make that decision; it can’t have been easy. And I’m certainly not going to pretend to know that he “has a lady in mind.” That’s the kind of judgmentalism that seems to be increasing on CAF, whether against priests, or gays, or the Pope, or whoever.


Most people do not enter marriage after 8 + years of intense discernment.


But people also change.
And, was his formation all it should have been? LOC has had lots of issues, maybe he wasn’t getting the help to discern his vocation like he should have.
Lots of judgemental attitudes here, makes me very sad.


Unfortunately, it seems you too are making a judgment by accusing everyone who disagrees with your opinion of being “judgmental”.


We had a good priest at my last parish who
took a sabbatical and then said he would take a temporary leave but would be in contact with the Bishop to see other work he could do in the diocese. I do not know if he has asked to be laicized, but almost a year has passed since that announcement. All I know is that he cannot be performing any priestly duties.

When our priest left, I was concerned about how his actions would effect the other priests in our town or other priests who knew him. One of the other priests was a new priest of
one year and the other priest worked primarily
with college students and had been a priest for 10-12 years. They are both very “orthodox” priests and impressed me greatly.
When someone breaks a vow, I think it makes it harder for those still trying to fulfill their
vows. It makes them question would grass be greener on the other side. It is a temptation.
Like you, from what I saw of Father Morris, although I haven’t seen him in awhile, I thought he was secure of himself as a priest.
I think he wrote one or two books. There was a Catholic priest in Florida caught with his girlfriend on a beach years ago and he left the
priesthood and the Catholic church and married and became an Episcopal priest.
It sounds like Father Morris wants to remain
I do think these men need prayer. I still pray for the priest who left from my old church.


You are the one who posted the article full of innuendo and outright obnoxious speculation about Jonathan Morris.

I am sad that he has come to this decision, but he does not deserve the treatment he is getting on this thread. I have personally lived through this, having my confessor/spiritual director leave the priesthood. It is not a decision that is come to lightly or easily. And the man knows that he will leave many people hurt, bewildered, and angry, and he will live with that knowledge for the rest of his life.
I am a caregiver, and our first rule is “you can’t care for others if you don’t care for yourself”. The same goes for ministry.
We are called, through Christian charity, to give the poor guy the benefit of the doubt.