Ordination path blocked for former governor

April 26, 2011

Former New Jersey Gov. James Mc­Greevey—who famously announced he was
"a gay American" when he resigned in 2004—will not be ordained into the
Episcopal Church priesthood in the near future.

Though McGreevey
has completed a master of divinity degree and has worked with prison
inmates and drug-addicted teens, he was denied in his first bid to
become an Episcopal priest, according to the New York Post. The
newspaper quoted anonymous sources who said church leaders had issues
with McGreevey's bitter divorce, not his homosexuality. McGreevey and
his second wife, Dina Matos, endured a contentious and public divorce
trial in 2008.

McGreevey, 53, declined to comment on the report.
However, he did discuss his ongoing ministry at the Hudson County
Correctional Facility, where he works with female inmates preparing for
release.

"My work in prison ministry has been a blessing in my
life and a source of joy," said McGreevey, who earned an M.Div. degree
from the General Theological Seminary in Manhattan a year ago. "It's an
opportunity to put to work the lessons I've learned in life and in
divinity school, bringing people closer to God in a period of great
need."

Nina Nicholson, a spokeswoman for the Episcopal Diocese of
Newark, would also not comment on the published re­port, saying it is
not church policy to discuss an individual's ordination process.

McGreevey,
who lives with his partner, Mark O'Donnell, converted from Catholicism
after he left office. He also works at Integrity House, a Newark
nonprofit focused on drug addition and runaways. He said "the next
chapter" of his life will focus on prison ministry and prison reform. 
—RNS