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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 the Fox News Network, said on-air Monday he is leaving the priesthood.

Morris announced his decision during Martha McCallum‘s “The Story,” appearing for the first time 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.”

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Morris spent 25 years studying to become and then practicing as a Catholic priest, 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 had abandoned them.

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“You took a vow,” McCallum said.

“I felt emotionally trapped,” Morris admitted. “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 is 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 pressed forward, asking Morris if he had been tempted to break his vows. He admitted to McCallum that he had broken his vows early in his career and had confessed his actions to his superiors, only to be have his ordainment bumped up by two years.

Morris said he has received tremendous support from his superior Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the priest to whom Morris formerly submitted his request to be relieved of his priestly duties.

“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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