The Priest and the Bride: A Love Story at the Vatican
By Olivia Haveron
The Vatican: the last place that anyone would expect to meet the love of their life, especially if one of those people is Roman Catholic priest. However, that was not the case for Kaitlyn Fulmer and Johnathan Morris seven years ago when their worlds collided in the religious center of the world. The New York Times covered their unique and unimaginable love story in Vincent Mallozzi’s article “She Married the Priest.”
Now, it’s imperative to note that Morris is, or was, a priest to which questions arise; priests in the Catholic Church cannot receive the sacrament of marriage themselves so how does that work? Well, to put it simply, things change. The two love birds first met in 2013 as they both traveled to the Vatican in order to cover the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the conclave that elected Pope Francis. Morris, 48, describes his first impression of Fulmer as someone who is “super smart, super happy, very efficient, and very energetic… She was someone who was really hard to forget.”
Kaitlyn Fulmer is an investigative producer for ABC News and at the time was booking for Good Morning America. One of the guests she was set to book included Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York. Morris, who was a priest at the time and analyst on Fox News, was in fact his wingman leaving an immediate impression on her. After their meeting in Rome, Fulmer continued to see Morris on television every once in a while until finally in June of 2019 she watched him announce that he had decided to leave priesthood behind in order to seek out more in life, including the possibility of marriage and a family. According to the New York Times, four months earlier he had sought out sabbatical from Cardinal Dolan which turned out to be permanent.
Fulmer immediately reached out to Morris via email because of her still-present interest in him. However her message was lost in transit due to the influx of emails received after his announcement. While he didn’t see the email itself, he did decide to message her on Twitter the next week asking if she was still in the New York area and wanted to grab lunch. Obviously the interest was mutual. But still, Fulmer was excited yet interested in why he actually left priesthood, stating “I knew what he had said in his statement, but I wanted a deeper understanding of why he left the priesthood.” Being an investigative producer made her more curious and inclined “by my nature” to seek out the truth.
On June 13th the pair met for lunch, sitting and talking for two hours enjoying every moment together. Yet, after three weeks of waiting, Fulmer haven't heard back from her date; her friends told her to wait for him to reach out. However, despite not immediately reaching out and not even sure if he wanted a relationship, Morris couldn't get her off of his mind, prompting him to reach out.
In the middle of crazy coverage and news stories encapsulating Fulmer’s life, she received a text from Morris. After explaining his busy schedule due to his new career path, she made the move and asked him out to dinner. Initially these dinner dates were not meant to become exclusive, yet the two knew that there was something more between them, talking everyday and becoming best friends.
Finally, after talking for months and sparking a connection, Morris realized he wanted much more; let’s be honest, more was forming between them whether they made it official or not. In October, he suggested that they take it to the next level and become official as they watched a Michigan football game stating “I just want to be with you -- just you, no one else.”
Despite acting as a former priest, he finds that falling in love has actually strengthened his beliefs, but in a more freeing manner. The two even frequent church together every Sunday.
A year after they reconnected, in June 2020, Fulmer and Morris became engaged at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar resort in San Diego. The pair were married on October 17th at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York in front of 200 family members, all of whom were socially distanced throughout the Cathedral, followed by a much smaller dinner at the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York.
Fulmer declared to the New York Times “When you know, you know,” and it is proper to declare that anyone can find love, even in the most unusual places such as The Vatican for a priest.