Peter J. Gomes, 'Harvard's Pastor', Dies : The Two-Way Rev. Peter J. Gomes dies

Peter J. Gomes, 'Harvard's Pastor', Dies

The Rev. Peter J. Gomes, popular professor and Pusey Minister of Harvard's Memorial Church, died Monday in Boston. He was 68 and the Harvard Crimson reports he suffered an aneurysm and heart attack.

Gomes was Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at the Divinity School and wrote several books, most recently "The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What's So Good About The Good News?"

He participated in the inaugurations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush while a Republican but switched to the Democrats in 2006 to support Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Memorably, he ascended the steps of Memorial Church in Nov. 1991 to speak to a crowd of students gathered to protest a student publication that had condemned homosexuality. From the New York Times:

"I do not know when the quality of life has been more violated," he told a crowd of about 100 as he stood on the steps of Memorial Church, setting off sustained applause when he added, "I am a Christian who happens as well to be gay. ... Those realities, which are irreconcilable to some, are reconciled in me by a loving God."

In 1996, Robert Boynton profiled Gomes for the New Yorker and asked Nobel laureate Seamus Haney to describe his preaching:

"His style is full of cadence, roguery, and scampishness, which is itself redemptive. With Gomes there is always an element of masquerade as he tempts his audience into complicity."

See his style for yourself, as Rev. Gomes explains things for Steven Colbert.