Paul Moore Jr.

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The Right Reverend
Paul Moore Jr
Bishop of New York
Church Episcopal Church
Diocese New York
In office 1972-1989
Predecessor Horace W. B. Donegan
Successor Richard F. Grein
Ordination 17 December 1949
by Benjamin M. Washburn
Consecration 25 January 1964
by Arthur C. Lichtenberger
Personal details
Born (1919-11-15)November 15, 1919
Morristown, New Jersey, United States
Died May 1, 2003(2003-05-01) (aged 83)
Nationality American
Spouse Jenny McKean (1944–1973)
Brenda Hughes Eagle (1974–1999)
Children Honor Moore
Alma mater Yale University
Paul Moore Jr.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1941-fl 1945
Battles/wars World War II
*Battle of Guadalcanal
Awards Navy Cross
Silver Star
Purple Heart

Paul Moore Jr. (November 15, 1919 – May 1, 2003) was a bishop of the Episcopal Church and former United States Marine Corps officer. He served as the 13th Bishop of New York from 1972 to 1989. During his lifetime, he was perhaps the best known Episcopal cleric in the United States, and among the best known of Christian clergy in any denomination.


Paul Moore was a graduate of St. Paul's School and Yale University, where, like his father, he was a member of Wolf's Head Society. He had been president of the Berkeley Association, the Episcopal student group, and a Boy Scout leader at Yale.[1]

He was a member of one of America's richest families.[2] Moore was senior fellow on the Yale Corporation from the mid-1960s through the presidential administration of George H.W. Bush.[3]

Moore joined the Marine Corps in 1941. He was a highly decorated Marine Corps captain, a veteran of the Guadalcanal Campaign during World War II earning the Navy Cross, a Silver Star and a Purple Heart.[4] Returning home after the War, Moore was ordained in 1949 after graduating from the General Theological Seminary in New York City. Moore was named rector of Grace Church Van Vorst, an inner city parish in Jersey City, New Jersey, in the former township of Van Vorst,[5] where he served from 1949 to 1957. There he began his career as a social activist, protesting inner city housing conditions and racial discrimination. He and his colleagues reinvigorated their inner city parish and were celebrated in the Church for their efforts.

In 1957, he was named Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis, Indiana. Moore introduced the conservative Midwestern capital to social activism through his work in the inner city. Moore served in Indianapolis until he was elected Suffragan Bishop of Washington, D.C., in 1964.

During his time in Washington he became nationally known as an advocate of civil rights and an opponent of the Vietnam War. He knew Martin Luther King, Jr., and marched with him in Selma and elsewhere. In 1970, he was elected as coadjutor and successor to Bishop Horace Donegan in New York City. He was installed as Bishop of the Diocese of New York in 1972 and held that position until 1989.

Moore was widely known for his liberal activism. Throughout his career he spoke out against homelessness and racism. He was an effective advocate of the interests of cities, once calling the corporations abandoning New York "rats leaving a sinking ship". He was the first Episcopal bishop to ordain an openly homosexual woman, Ellen Barrett as a priest in the church. In his book, Take a Bishop Like Me (1979), he defended his position by arguing that many priests were homosexuals but few had the courage to acknowledge it. His liberal political views were coupled with fierce traditionalism when it came to the liturgy and even the creed. In his writings and sermons he sometimes described himself as "born again", referring to his awakening to a fervent Christocentric faith as a boarding school student.

By birth, by inherited wealth, by friendships and career success, Moore was an acknowledged member of what was often called the "Liberal Establishment", a group that included Kingman Brewster and Cyrus Vance, along with many other graduates of Yale College.[6] He wrote three books: The Church Reclaims the City (1965), Take a Bishop Like Me (1979), and, after his retirement, Presences: A Bishop's Life in the City (1997), a memoir of his life.

Personal life[edit]

In 1944, while in the Marine Corps, Moore married Jenny McKean, a daughter of Bohemian privilege reared on the North Shore of Boston and educated at Madeira School, Vassar College and Barnard College. (Her mother was Margarett Sargent McKean, a noted painter in the Ashcan School and a follower of George Luks.) Together they had nine children (and, at his death, many grandchildren). Jenny McKean Moore published a well reviewed account of their decade together in the slums of Jersey City under the title The People on Second Street (1968). During that time the family lived in the tenement-like rectory of Grace van Vorst Church on Second Street in Jersey City (now called in his honor, Bishop Paul Moore Place).

Jenny McKean Moore died of colon cancer in 1973. Eighteen months later Moore married Brenda Hughes Eagle, a childless widow twenty two years his junior. She died of alcoholism in 1999. It was she who discovered his bisexual infidelity, around 1990, and made it known to his children, who kept the secret, as he had asked them to, until Honor Moore's revelations in 2008.

Honor Moore, the oldest of the Moore children and a bisexual,[7] revealed that her father was himself bisexual with a history of gay affairs in a story she wrote about him in the March 3, 2008 issue of The New Yorker[8] and in the book The Bishop's Daughter: A Memoir (W. W. Norton, 2008). In addition, she described a call she received six months after her father's death from a man, identified in the article by a pseudonym, who was the only person named in Moore's will who was unknown to the family. Honor Moore learned from the man that he had been her father's longtime gay lover and that they had traveled together to Patmos in Greece and elsewhere.[9]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1991 he received the Four Freedom Award for the Freedom of Worship.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Moore, Honor The Bishop's Daughter: A Memoir, p.31, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, London, 2008
  2. ^ Kabaservice, Geoffrey. The Guardians : Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment, p. 7, Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2004
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Guadalcanal Veterans Return". The Battle of Guadalcanal Foundation. Archived from the original on 2008-10-10. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  6. ^ Kabaservice, Geoffrey. The Guardians: Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment, Geoffrey Kabaservice, Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2004
  7. ^ " Local & World News, Sports & Entertainment in Providence, RI". Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  8. ^ Schmidle, Nicholas. "The Bishop's Daughter". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  9. ^ Vitello, Paul (March 3, 2008). "A Bishop Unveiled God's Secrets While Keeping His Own". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-10. ; Schuessler, Jennifer. "Her Father, His Secrets, Herself", New York Times. May 23, 2008.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-25. Retrieved 2015-05-13. 

External links and other sources[edit]

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
Horace W. B. Donegan
Bishop of New York
Succeeded by
Richard F. Grein