Matt C. Abbott
Entering the priesthood, leaving the priesthood
FacebookTwitterGoogle+
By Matt C. Abbott
May 28, 2019

Congratulations to Fathers Matthew Schuster, David Yallaly and all the other recently-ordained Catholic priests worldwide!

(Get this: "Starting in 2013, and every year since for the past seven years, one young man from the parish of St. Mary's in Hudson, Ohio, has been ordained a priest of Jesus Christ for the Catholic Church," according to a May 26 story at Catholic News Agency. Wow!)

"Prayer for Priests":
    Gracious and loving God, we thank you for the gift of our priests. Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments. Help our priests to be strong in their vocation. Set their souls on fire with love for your people. Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom. Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel. Allow them to experience joy in their ministry. Help them to become instruments of your divine grace. We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest. Amen.


On a related note, from Crux (May 17):
    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'....

    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.
Click here to read more about the scandal-plagued Legionaries of Christ.

For me, it's disappointing to hear or read about priests who voluntarily leave the priesthood – unless, of course, the priest in question is an absolute scoundrel who's leading souls astray. I would not put Morris in that category. (I can think of another well-known priest whose departure from the priesthood I'd celebrate, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.)

Here's Morris's public statement (slightly edited):
    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 (priestly vows).

    Taking this step is something I have considered often and at length in years past and discussed with my spiritual guides. While I have loved and thrived in so many aspects of my ministry, deep in my interior I have 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.

    My fear of disappointing people's expectations of me has always held me back from taking this step. Only now, because of this sabbatical, have I had the clarity of mind and peace of soul to move in this direction.

    My decision is 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. 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.

    I hope you are able to hear in my written word the newfound joy I have in my heart as I begin this new chapter, despite my fear of stepping into the unknown. I am grateful to God, my family, and to all of you for so much love, support, and understanding. Some will not understand; I'm okay with that too. Please pray for me.
© Matt C. Abbott

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if those emails are marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)

Subscribe

Receive future articles by Matt C. Abbott: Click here

More by this author

 

Stephen Stone
'The fervent prayer of the righteous'

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Wes Vernon
China: Taking America to the movies (on China's terms)

James Lambert
Remembering a former roommate and recalling his wonderful story

Bonnie Chernin
My friend became a victim of legal abortion, and he was changed forever

Bryan Fischer
Today's pot destroys teen brains

Curtis Dahlgren
Shocking! These quotations will shock you (short and sweet)!

Publius Huldah
How states can man-up and stop abortion

Lloyd Marcus
Reparations: Democrats scam and insult blacks again

Paul Cameron
Do Southern Baptists have a child molestation problem?

Victor Sharpe
"FBI director warns that Chinese spies are embedded in American universities"

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Don't ignore God. There is a hell!

Michael Bresciani
How do millions of moments of pride turn into endless years of shame, or when did the Republic become a homocracy?

Judie Brown
The 'nones' need Christ, not sorrow and death
  More columns

Cartoons


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

RSS feeds

News:
Columns:

Columnists

Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Jamie Freeze Baird
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites