Father Steve Murphy, a Roman Catholic priest, pastor of a parish in an affluent suburb of Washington, DC, revered by his parishioners, believes he is about to be elevated to Monsignor. But, out of the blue, he is transferred without explanation to a temporary university teaching post. Shortly after, he is ordered to a prison-like correctional monastery deep in the Sonora Desert of Arizona. Murphy knows that he has been a devout priest and is puzzled and angry that he has been thrown in with the derelicts of the Catholic clergy. At the monastery, he finds that he has been cast among the pedophiles, alcoholics, embezzlers and other serious offenders who the church hierarchy is pressuring to resign or be defrocked. Convinced that God wants him to continue his ministry, he escapes. Murphy is now a fugitive, pursued by monks from the monastery who are little more than thugs with others to "do whatever it takes" to stop him and return him to the monastery, or even kill him, if necessary. Why, Steve Murphy asks himself, is his church doing this to him?