Former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey Rejected in Initial Bid for Priesthood ‘for Being a Jackass’

Former NJ Governor Jim "I am a gay American" McGreevey has had his initial bid for the priesthood rejected by church leaders, the NY Post reports:

Mcgreevey Church leaders, who have long embraced gay parishioners and clergy, were bothered by McGreevey's bitter divorce, sources told The Post.

"It was not being gay but for being a jackass — [McGreevey] didn't come out of the whole divorce looking good," said a source with the Episcopal Diocese of Newark.

Some leaders also were wary of McGreevey's sudden embrace of their faith after his scandal and feared the church was being used, the source added.

After resigning as governor, "he was sort of looking for every angle to make a complete redo of his professional life," said another church source. "He ran to the church for some kind of cover, which isn't fully appropriate. Even if he's a good guy, he should wait five to 10 years to get over his issues."

McGreevey was apparently told that he needs to go back to the books and study harder or do more charitable work.

It was first reported that McGreevey was looking into the priesthood in May 2007.

*Note: image is Photoshop illustration.


  1. Angelo says

    Nice try, but the Episcopalian/Anglican Church was itself born out of a bitter acrimonious divorce controversy. Remember England’s infamous King Henry VIII who divorced and decapitated several of his wives? This isn’t about former NJ Governor Jim McGreevy’s divorce. This is about not wanting any more controversial gay priests within the Episcopalian church.

  2. AllBeefPatty says

    I am so bothered by those who perform these amazing feats of mental gymnastics to square their pathetic lives.

    Whatever happened to just being good and living a fulfilling life?

  3. Jack says

    We all make mistakes, and big ones. When someone decides they have been wrong and makes an obvious effort to improve, they are entitled to the same benefit of doubt we ourselves would be wanting if it were us. If what’s said is true, the church is being ridiculous. God is love, and He certainly does not intend that we worship our mistakes.

  4. SteveC says

    Jack – ‘God’ may be love. But the Church is a business. The Church (like any other business) needs to protect its bottom line and profit margins. McGreevey clearly brings too much personal baggage to be deemed an appropriate fit for the Episcopalian business model.

  5. TampaZeke says

    Wait a minute, now the Church is claiming that it’s NOT the place to run to for redemption and forgiveness in times of trouble.

    New rule: Now you must be “white as snow” BEFORE being allowed to be “washed in the blood”!

    Doesn’t this seem to be a bit hypocritical coming from a church that was born out of a messy divorce?

  6. candideinnc says

    Tampazeke is right. Furthgermore, no one comes out of a contentious divorce looking good. Also, who is the spokesperson badmouthing McGreevey? They are being awfully free with their venom against a guy that apparently is looking to try to do some good work.

    Also, why do the commenters here have such a stick up their ass about McGreevy? He isn’t the first politician to have cheated on his wife or used his position to grant favors. He acknowledged it and resigned. Big deal. Stop being so damned self-righteous, people.

  7. says

    It’s not like this guy is the first to bring a suitcase full of bad choices to the seminary. I agree, people are being awfully self-righteous. I also agree that this decision was likely influenced by the fact that the Episcopalians have had difficulty with gay priests in America… American congregants seem to be more okay with them than their Anglican brothers and sisters in the third world, and the Archbishop has been more concerned with keeping the tattered threads of the communion together than in advocating for the equal humanity of GLBT people. Not a very welcoming environment for gay people wanting to enter the priesthood.

  8. NE Rich says

    This guy has been creepy since day one. Once an oily politician always an oily politician. Any deception to come out smelling like a rose, from marrying a woman to pretend to be “normal”. Now it’s priesthood, give me a break.

  9. nelson2 says

    Thank you, I needed a good laugh to start the day: “It was not being gay but for being a jackass”.

  10. Danny says

    He wouldn’t be the first scoundrel to use the priesthood as a place of refuge. Kinda makes me think of flag-waving patriots in the republican party.

    In McGreevy’s case, I’d say he’s pretty much an adolescent who’s got a long way to go before he need consider what the priesthood requires of a man or woman.

  11. Danny says

    @ CandideinNC – it’s just more of the malign homophobia typically found on this blog’s threads. I swear, if you want to find people who hate gay people, you don’t have to go to the non-gay media: they’re very well represented right here.

  12. Clint says

    First of all, you know it all jackasses have no understanding of Anglican history when you continually reference Henry VIII’s marital problems as the beginning of Anglicanism as a separate Christian tradition from Catholicism, this is not true, and it took another century before the Church of England would be recognizably Anglican to our eyes. Second of all, it was the King and his bullying, and probably his goons, that got him the divorces, not the faith of the Church. Anglicanism today is not quite as sticky about divorce as Catholicism, but remarriage does require a signature by a Bishop before it is allowed in church, and annulments are still preferable.

    Third of all, I wish the local bishops of the Episcopal Church would have said “no” to more people like the former governor, because there are some not-so-great priests out there, mostly law or business burnouts, that somehow got ordained. McGreevey is simply not in the place in his life to be able to be a good priest, this isn’t like hiring a new accountant, for God’s sake! It was the right decision by the diocese, and good for them.

    Finally, the EC doesn’t have “problems” with gay priests, that battle has been fought and voted on, and the haters are the losing, and shrinking, minority in the EC. Especially in the Diocese of Newark there would be no problem or even the batting of an eye, since this was Bishop John Spong’s diocese a few years ago, and he was one who led the way for full inclusion in all levels of ministry.

  13. Catherine says

    Perhaps the Episcopal Church is simply setting some appropriately high standards for emotional maturity in their priests, regardless of sexual orientation? I live in an Episcopal diocese (not NJ) that has ordained many gay and lesbian priests. However, all candidates are expected to be psychologically healthy and mature (but not perfect) in the living out of their faith. How could a Church demand less of its spiritual leaders? McGreevey has never struck me as either. BTW, the Photoshopped image is very misleading, depicting McGreevey with a collar where he actually has none.

  14. candideinnc says

    Danny–Yes, the whole lot of them are acting like they are the aggrieved wife! Then again, I imagine every one of them is pristine pure. I have never heard of gays cheating on their lovers, after all. Have you?

  15. jomicur says

    Since when to Christian churches reject ministers for having messy sex lives? Most of the time, it looks almost like they encourage and protect it. Is this some new Christian innovation?

  16. BobN says

    I rarely pay any attention to “celebrity divorces” so I don’t recall what made his particularly “bitter”. Didn’t he agree to pretty much everything his ex-wife asked for?

  17. wimsy says

    If the Episcopalians won’t take him, he can run to the Catholics!

    Little things like “Issues” don’t hold them back — and being a jackass is no problem.

  18. Chris says

    Jack, read the comments above. We have been ordaining gay and lesbian clergy in the Diocese of Newark for decades. The truth is, clergy are vetted and vetted hard, and just because you think you are priesthood material doesn’t mean you are. This man very recently came through a very public scandal in which his character has been called into question. We get numerous candidates for discernment who are better-qualified and don’t have his baggage.

    That said, I feel that the “jackass” comment was irresponsible. It would have been sufficient to say he wasn’t a good fit.

    Tampazeke, everyone is welcome to be a member of the church regardless of where they are in life. He is in fact a member of an Episcopal congregation (only since he came out) and I’m sure he’s been made quite welcome.

    That does not mean they are qualified to be a leader and a confidant to people who are struggling. Being a priest is a big responsibility and just because it might look fun doesn’t mean you are capable of it, nor is the church obligated to take a chance on you.