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The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Responding to The New Yorker Article on Bp. Paul Moore

Dear Honor Moore, (Bishop Paul Moore's daughter)

I think your outing of Paul Moore is just wonderful. He has always been one my heroes and now even more so. I am sad he lived so much of his life in the closet. I wish he had announced the gay part of himself to the world. What a comfort it would have been to gays and lesbians and an inspiration to the closeted to come out.

C. Kilmer Myers with whom Paul worked in the ‘50s, and who later became Bishop of California tried marriage, adopted children and was also gay. My bet is that his alcoholism was his attempt to cover up this gay side. I have first - hand testimony that Myers acted out sexually as a gay man while he was Bishop. He too is one of my heroes for his passionate concern for the poor, homeless and victims of injustice.

My own father, The Rev. E. Warren Cromey was bi-sexual. He adored my mother, loved my brother and me, but had gay sex from time to time with friends who later told me about those activities.

My father was chaplain on Welfare Island (now Roosevelt Island) in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Paul Moor referred his old St. Paul’s teacher, Fred Batrop, to my dad for counseling and friendship. I remember meeting Fred once or twice at our house for dinner. I do believe Fred was alcoholic and gay but had not married. I also recollect Fred was a priest deposed, for some reason I have forgotten.

I also know that Paul was on the board of directors of a counseling center to help homosexual men and women in the ‘50s. It was based for a long time at the now defunct Church of the Holy Communion in Chelsea. When I discovered this, I thought how brave Paul was to ally himself so early with a homosexual organization.

I had no personal knowledge or suspicions about Paul’s homosexual side. His pro-gay stands and actions as bishop were just another natural part of his concern for the poor and disenfranchised.

Paul came to General Seminary a couple of times between 1953-56 when I was a student there. He led a quiet day and tried to teach us to meditate. He failed miserably as far I was concerned. Whenever I am forced to meditate I fall asleep or think of sex. But when he came and talked about the ministry of the church to the inner city and urban concerns, I was excited and inspired to spend my ministry in the city. I have served in the Bronx and then in the city of San Francisco since 1962.

Your article about Paul’s life re-inspired and reminded me about the work for justice, peace and care for the poor all over again. I am married, straight and have had a long ministry with gay and lesbians here in San Francisco – since 1964 as a matter of fact. My SF parish was 75% gay men and 5% lesbians and a few of us straight people as well.

Beth Clements told me a couple of years ago that you were working on a book about your father. I do hope The New Yorker article does move toward a book.

Thank you for writing the article. In many ways it continues the importance of Paul’s life and ministry

With all good wishes,


Robert Cromey

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