Paul Moore, 83, strong voice on social and political issues

June 1, 2003

Paul Moore Jr., 83, retired bishop of the Diocese of New York and a formidable voice for peace and urban justice, died May 1 at his home in New York after suffering from lung and brain cancer.

"Paul Moore was a great man, who lived his whole life fighting for justice and for the rights of the oppressed," said diocesan Bishop Mark S. Sisk. "He was a man whose passion for life grew out of his love for people -- a love returned by so many who cherished him deeply."
Serving as bishop from 1972 to 1989, he was a pioneer on many fronts. He advocated for social causes and peace until the last weeks of his life. He helped open the church to the ordination of women. He was known for his social activism, deep religious convictions and dedication to welcoming all to the church. 

He opened the cathedral for rallies against racism and on behalf of nuclear disarmament. A tall man with a stately presence, Moore never hesitated to use the pulpit to express his opinions on social causes and civil rights. Whether he was marching for peace with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960s or offering aid and assistance to the victims of the World Trade Center tragedy 40 years later, he spoke out for peace in all places for all people.

At the end of his life, when he barely could mount the steps of the pulpit in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Moore was outspoken against President George W. Bush and the war with Iraq.
He attended St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H., and graduated from Yale University in 1941. He served in the U.S. Marine Corp from 1941 to 1945. As a platoon leader in the Tulagi-Guadalcanal operation of the First Marine Corp Division, he was seriously wounded. During his years in the armed service, he earned the Navy Cross, the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. 
Moore returned to New York and studied at General Theological Seminary, graduating in 1949. His first parish was in New Jersey. In 1957, he became dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis.
In 1963, he was elected suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Washington, where he served for five years, continuing his work with inner-city churches. He returned to New York when he was elected coadjutor bishop in 1969. He was installed as diocesan bishop in 1972.
He wrote three books: a study on the urban work of the church, "The Church Reclaims the City," in 1965; "Take A Bishop Like Me," in which he chronicles his ordination of a lesbian and describes the struggle for women's ordination and gay rights in the church, in 1979; and his memoir, "Presences: A Bishop's Life in the City," in 1997.

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