tampabay.com

Former governor plans to enter seminary

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 3, 2007


NEWARK, N.J. - The nation's first openly gay governor has become an Episcopalian and been accepted into a seminary, according to a published report.

Former Gov. James E. McGreevey, who was raised as a Roman Catholic, was officially received into the Episcopal religion Sunday at St. Bartholomew's Church in New York, said the Rev. Kevin Bean, vicar at the church.

McGreevey has entered the church's "discernment" phase, which usually precedes seminary work, Bean told the Star-Ledger of Newark in a report posted Wednesday on its Web site.

It's unclear whether McGreevey hopes to become a priest. He did not return several messages left Wednesday.

McGreevey, 49, shocked the nation in August 2004 by proclaiming himself "a gay American" who had an extramarital affair with a male aide. The aide denies having an affair and says he was sexually harassed by the former governor.

McGreevey has been accepted at the General Theological Seminary in New York, school spokesman Bruce Parker said Wednesday.

"Mr. McGreevey has been admitted to the master of divinity program, and he will be starting in the fall, " Parker said. "Where Mr. McGreevey goes with this is up to him. We have a lot of people studying here who are not interested in ordination at all."

Religion has become an issue in McGreevey's divorce proceedings. His estranged wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, has demanded that their 5-year-old daughter not be allowed to receive communion in the Episcopal Church because she is being raised a Roman Catholic.

The issue of gay clergy has exposed divides in the worldwide Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church in the United States.