Paul Moore Jr (1919-2003) was born into an extremely wealthy and historic clan. (Clement Moore, author of the poem “The Night Before Christmas” and a leading New York Episcopalian layman, was a direct ancestor.) As befitted his elevated status, he attended St Paul’s School (New Hampshire) and Yale. Joining the Marine Corps in 1941, he rose to the rank of captain, fought at Guadalcanal, and was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.
After the war, he went into the Episcopal Church’s General Theological Seminary in New York City, and was ordained in 1949. This far, Moore’s career was fairly standard for one of his birth and education. But his first assignment, Grace Church Van Vorst, was in a poverty-struck section of Jersey City. Moore carried over his resulting concern for the poor when he was appointed dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, in 1957.
Elected a suffragan bishop of Washington, DC, in 1964, he marched with Dr King and opposed the Vietnam War – going so far as to wear a pectoral cross with a peace symbol on it.
Together with California’s Bishop Pike, he symbolised the radical change that gripped the Episcopal Church during that era – a role Moore revelled in during his stint as Bishop of New York (1972-1989). A supporter of women priests, he ordained the first lesbian cleric in his denomination.
Following the death of his first wife (who came from a similar background and bore him nine children), he remarried.
His second wife discovered Moore’s frequent same-sex affairs. His bisexuality was revealed by his daughter in 2008.
A decade later Moore’s successor as Gotham’s Episcopal bishop revealed that Moore had been a “serial predator” carrying on “long-time patterns” of sexual abuse of laity, priests and seminarians.