Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Gay former governor entering seminary

McGreevey.jpgJim McGreevey, the former New Jersey governor who came out of the closet while in office and resigned because of an alleged affair, has converted into the Episcopal Church and will enter its General Theological Seminary in Manhattan. (The ordination of gay priests has become, to put it mildly, a contentious issue in the U.S. branch of King Henry's church.)

Here's the word from the Newark Star-Ledger, which broke the story online today:

"This is something he's been thinking about for years," said David France, who last year co-authored McGreevey's best-selling memoir, The Confession. "His spiritual life has always been central to who he is. From the time he was a kid, he thought about going into Catholic seminary a number of times. The idea of going into the Episcopal seminary has been in his mind for at least a couple of years."

McGreevey, 49, resigned in August 2004 after announcing he was gay and had an affair with a male staffer, who has denied it.

News of McGreevey's plans come a day after his estranged wife, former first lady Dina Matos McGreevey, released her own tell-all memoir, called Silent Partner: A Memoir of My Marriage. The McGreeveys are embroiled in a nasty divorce and custody battle, which has boiled over in recent weeks and led a Superior Court judge in Elizabeth to instruct the couple to use common sense and remember that their daughter will one day read everything they're saying about each other.

While in office, McGreevey's pro-choice political stance put him at odds with the Catholic church. And soon after his resignation, McGreevey began attending Episcopal services. A central point of contention between the McGreeveys in their divorce is whether their 5-year-old daughter, being raised Catholic by Matos McGreevey, should be allowed to accept communion while at services with her father.

Of the Episcopal discernment protocols, Bean said: "There's a whole process that takes place within his parish here at St. Bart's, of discernment. That is followed by a process of further discernment at the diocesan level, involving the bishop and all. The decison to go to seminary is part of a more thorough process of discernment to ordination. It's not just going to seminary that gets you ordained ... It's a pretty extensive."

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