Thursday, May 03, 2007

Reverend McGreevey?

Word came to me by e-mail from a friend in Maryland about the latest actions of the former Governor of New Jersey, Jim McGreevey. I met Jim back about 1985, when he was a lobbyist for Merck and a fellow political junkie. We worked on local campaigns together and I was there in 1989 when he won his first elective office to the New Jersey General Assembly. In 1991 we had a falling out, as Jim feared for his political life and allied himself against the man who mentored us both and gave him his shot at statewide politics in the 19th legislative district. Jim went on to other elected offices and I went into the seminary. We've rarely seen each other since, but those few times have been pleasant and civil.

McGreevey was received into the Episcopalian Church on Sunday at a parish in Manhattan. It's a shock to me because in the years I was friends with him it was apparent that his Catholic faith was important to him. It was, at that time, the example of him and a few others that caused me to consider becoming a Roman Catholic. You name it: Knights of Columbus, Catholic Lawyers Guild, Communion Breakfasts, Lector; these were part of Jim's life and identity. Granted, that was sixteen years ago, but still I've been stunned by his repudiation of what he claimed was so much an important part of his formative years.

On one hand, I must give him credit. He dissents from certain teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and so not only has he said he is no longer a Roman Catholic, but he has also made a formal act of leaving the Roman Catholic Church. Would that other Catholic dissenters had the courage to do so. Am I happy about it? No. But from what I've seen of him lately, am I surprised at how he's treating the Bride of Christ? It's no different than he's treated other brides. Like Dina Matos-McGreevey, and Kari Schutz-McGreevey, the Roman Catholic Church is of no use to him anymore, so he's divorced himself from it.

On the other hand, I don't know what to make of the Episcopalian embrace of him. Separate from his sexuality, you've got a man already divorced once, in the midst of a second divorce, and currently living with another "significant other". Three "spouses" in less than 17 years (four if you count the governorship of New Jersey, which he resigned from as well) to each of whom he's previously pledged fidelity. Is this really someone that has proven himself able to make a lifelong commitment? I mean, if you're looking to fill the shoes of the Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well, there's your guy. But other than that...

The timing also shows narcissistic tendencies. The announcement is released at the same time his ex-wife's book hits the stands. Can he not allow someone else to have the spotlight without trying his best to pry his way into it? And the press? They're still infatuated with him. Jimmy is on page 1 above the fold. His ex-wife? Bounced to page 4. Way to go, media, feed the beast whydon'tcha?

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