— Jonathan Morris (@JonMorris2019) July 17, 2020
Morris has been an analyst and commentator on religious issues for Fox News since May 2005. He left his position as a Catholic priest in 2019 because he was bothered by “not being able to marry and have a family,” according to his personal statement.
The couple met after Morris announced the decision and quickly fell in love, according to the Daily Mail.
Here’s what you need to know about Jonathan Morris and his fiancee, Kaitlyn Former:
1. The Couple Started Dating Shortly After Morris Left the Priesthood & Got Engaged This June
Some personal news. Thank you for all of your love and prayers. https://t.co/RQlwO0sfZy
— Jonathan Morris (@JonMorris2019) July 16, 2020
I just can’t wait to marry Kaitlyn and be with her for the rest of my life. I will continue to express my faith in God and my love for the Church in this new chapter of my life.
In an interview with Fox News’ The Story in June 2019, Morris said he didn’t leave the church because of an existing relationship. But just a few days after the interview, Morris said recently, he went to lunch with Folmer “professionally”. A month later, they went on their first date. “And the rest is history,” he told The Story on July 17.
Happy Hour at Juniors in Times Square pic.twitter.com/My8CRCpGmL
— Kaitlyn Folmer (@KaitlynFolmer) August 26, 2019
Morris told host Martha MacCallum his journey of finding love and marriage “has been very strange, but it’s been beautiful.” He also expressed his gratitude to God.
God’s plans are mysterious. And I’m so grateful to the church that there’s a process by which the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has granted me a dispensation.
The couple plan to get married at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, according to the Daily Mail.
2. Morris Felt Called to Be a Priest in College
— Jonathan Morris (@JonMorris2019) December 19, 2016
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Morris grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in a big family of seven children, according to Crux and the National Catholic Register. As the third-oldest child, he didn’t feel called to be a priest until he was in college, he told the National Catholic Register.
While Morris was studying at Franciscan University as a business administration major, he was influenced by his roommate who got interested in the priesthood, the National Catholic Register reported. Morris, who had a girlfriend at that time, invited his roommate to a retreat to think about it, only to find himself considering it too.
He became a priest in the end, and his roommate married his girlfriend, “although he asked my permission before he started dating her,” he said during an interview with the National Catholic Register in 2014.
3. Morris Was Ordained as a Priest in 2002 in Rome & Later Served in the Archdiocese of New York
— Jonathan Morris (@JonMorris2019) February 27, 2016
Morris was ordained a priest in the Legion of Christ in Rome in 2002 and graduated magna cum laude with a licentiate graduate degree in moral theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Italy, according to the National Catholic Register.
He later left for the Archdiocese of New York at the invitation of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, he told the National Catholic Register. He served in several city parishes within the Archdiocese of New York and also worked as a special assistant to the Cardinal Dolan for media and communications, according to his Fox News bio page.
— Jonathan Morris (@JonMorris2019) March 14, 2015
In May 2019, he announced that he would leave the priesthood after 17 years of service and nine years of education. He asked Pope Francis to release him from “the duties and responsibilities of the clerical state (priestly vows),” he wrote in an opinion piece published by Fox News.
In a personal statement, he revealed that he had already considered the decision for years.
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.
Morris said in his opinion piece that Cardinal Dolan helped him through the first steps of the dispensation from the clerical state, which the Vatican granted in November last year, according to the Daily Mail.
4. Folmer Is a Producer & Reporter for ABC News
— Kaitlyn Folmer (@KaitlynFolmer) September 13, 2019
She graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, her LinkedIn page shows. Before working at ABC News and ABC Investigates as a producer and reporter, she was a booker and producer for Good Morning America. She won the 2014 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Morning Program as the deputy editorial producer for the show.
Folmer has also worked in a number of local markets, including news stations in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Houston, etc., according to Muck Rack. She has recently covered faulty COVID-19 test components and Amazon’s new technology to help with social distancing.
According to Earn The Necklace, Folmer’s parents are Charlotte Mae Folmer and Harry Allen Folmer. Her maternal grandmother was an active church member in the local community before she passed away in 2011.
5. Morris Now Has His Own Consulting Firm
In his statement about dispensation, Morris said he would continue to support and serve people, but in new ways. He said in the statement he does not want his experience to take away from that of other priests:
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.
After he left the priesthood, Morris co-founded a business consulting firm Morris and Larson with James Larson, who’s also a former priest according to the Daily Mail.
Morris’s company profile page says the partnership is “the fruit of 25 years of friendship and professional collaboration.” The consulting firm says it specializes in leadership development and aims to grow “high-impact leaders.”
Morris still works as a contributor to Fox News and continues to speak out about religious matters. He recently condemned the increasing attacks on Catholic churches in an interview with Fox News.