Remember the scandal-plagued former New Jersey governor James McGreevey?
The one-time Catholic (and former altar boy) was studying to become an Episcopal priest, but the church now wants him to wait:
Former Gov. Jim McGreevey, who abruptly resigned in 2004 after declaring himself “a gay American” and admitting an extramarital affair with a male staffer, has had his pursuit of the Episcopal priesthood put on hold indefinitely.
The New York Post reported Monday that the church has deferred his bid to join the clergy.
The church, which accepts gays and women into the clergy, wants McGreevey to wait so he can put more distance between his possible ordination and the fairly recent turmoil in his life: his coming out in a nationally televised speech, his resignation and a messy divorce from his wife, Dina Matos, in 2008.
The Rev. William Sachs, director of the Center for Interfaith Reconciliation in Richmond, Va., said it’s “not unusual” for people to be deferred. Sachs said church officials would be interested in how someone with McGreevey’s baggage would handle the ministry.
“How would he apply what he’s learned to his ministry? Does he translate from being the person he was in the political realm to being in ordained ministry,” Sachs asked. “It doesn’t surprise me there would be an instinct to defer.”
Neither McGreevey, a Democrat, nor the Episcopal Diocese of Newark would comment on his potential ordination, saying the process is confidential.
McGreevey, 53, earned a master of divinity degree last spring, three years after entering General Theological Seminary in New York City.
The Rev. Patricia McCaughan, who writes for the Episcopal News Service, said ordination is a complicated, subjective process that differs from state to state.
“If a person is deemed not ready to go forward, that doesn’t mean that’s the end,” she said. “People can always try again.”