Indicted Bishop of Albany Calls for Release from Priesthood

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A retired bishop of Albany, New York, who admitted to covering up a predator priest and is himself accused of sexual abuse, has asked Pope Francis to remove him from the priesthood. .

84-year-old Bishop Emeritus Howard Hubbard announced the decision in a statement Friday. date designated by the United Nations As World Day to Prevent and Cure Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence.

Mr. Hubbard said he would no longer be able to serve as a priest given the U.S. Church’s policy of barring accused priests from ministry and would rather be racised or return to lay status. If accepted, racization would relieve Hubbard of his celibacy obligations.

Asking a pope for voluntary racism is unusual, especially for a bishop, especially a clergyman who denies allegations of abuse against him. If you want to leave the priesthood to get married, you demand a racism. .

Hubbard has admitted to covering up allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests, in part to avoid scandal and protect the parish’s reputation. It did so in one of the depositions. Those who sued Albany Parish that’s all sexual abuse as a childsometimes decades ago.

However, he has strongly denied the accusations that he himself abused minors. In his statement on Friday, Hubbard reiterated that claim of his innocence.

“I hope I live long enough to see my name disappear completely,” he said.

Hubbard ran a parish in New York’s Capital District from 1977 to 2014.

Other U.S. bishops have asked Francis to step down for mishandling predator priests, but he is not completely removed from the priesthood. Francis was forcibly removed from office in 2019 after a church investigation found that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had sexually abused adults and children.

Attorneys for abuse survivors hailed Hubbard’s call for full renunciation of the priesthood as the culmination of victims’ efforts to hold the Catholic Church accountable for abuse and cover-up. The US church has implemented a “one strike and it’s done” policy for 20 years, but the bishop was not sanctioned.

Only in 2019 did the Vatican pass internal standards for investigating accused bishops, but these cases were kept secret and full public accounts of who was investigated or sanctioned. Rather, it is up to individual dioceses or bishops’ conferences to publish information.

“We feel that Hubbard’s dismissal is not only justified, but necessary. said in a statement issued by the law firm of Jeffrey Anderson, which has represented hundreds of abuse victims in the United States.