Father Thelen sees himself drawn to a new calling: "It is time for the Church to turn her attention from saving face to saving the earth, from saving souls to saving the planet. It is time to focus on the sacred bond that exists between us and the earth. It is time to join the Cosmic Christ in the Great Work of mending, repairing, nurturing, and protecting our evolving creation."
While he says he is de-frocking himself to return to his original baptismal state, what Thelen is really doing is calling attention to the priesthood of all believers and attempting in his remaining years to embody how that priesthood might be lived.
His letter to his friends and colleagues explaining his decision follows.