Former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, who captivated audiences nationwide when he publicly announced “I am a gay American” as he resigned from office six years ago, has been denied a bid to join the priesthood of the Episcopal Church, according to a report.
Some authorities familiar with the process of joining the priesthood told The New York Post it’s usual for first-time bidders to be told to delve further into study and step up their charitable projects before they are permitted to join the clergy.
Other church leaders reportedly told the Post McGreevey’s high-profile divorce and the salacious circumstances surrounding it were concerning, and some feared McGreevey’s motivation to join the clergy stemmed more from a desire to rehabilitate his image than to be closer to God.
McGreevey declined to comment when the Post called to ask him about his priestly aspirations. Through a spokeswoman, Newark Diocese’s Bishop Mark Beckwith also opted not to comment.
McGreevey converted to the Episcopal Church after resigning in November 2004. Since leaving the governorship, he has attended the General Theological Seminary in New York City to obtain his Master of Divinity degree, one of the steps required to become an Episcopal priest.
He lives in Plainfield, N.J., with his longtime partner, Mark O’Donnell. The couple regularly attended Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York as well as a church in New Jersey.