William DuBay

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This article is about the priest and author. For the comic book editor, see Bill DuBay (comics).

William DuBay (born 1934) was a U.S. Catholic priest and social activist whose reform activities and suspension from the priesthood created controversy in the mid-1960s.

In February 1966, DuBay was suspended from the priesthood by Cardinal James Francis McIntyre, archbishop of Los Angeles, for criticizing the Catholic Church and for writing The Human Church, a book that was highly critical of the Church hierarchy. In 1964, DuBay publicly requested that Pope Paul VI remove McIntyre from office for his failure to support civil rights for Black people, a demand that garnered national headlines. Wrote DuBay:

His Eminence [McIntyre] has condemned direct action demonstrations on the grounds that they incite violence. But as a matter of fact he has contributed to the possibility of serious racial violence by depriving civil rights groups of responsible Catholic and clerical leadership necessary to encourage Christian forms of nonviolent protest. His inaction has promoted the prolongation of Negro grievances by failing to mobilize the Catholic population against the social evils of segregation.[1]

DuBay also proposed creating a trade union for Catholic priests. Under DuBay's Federation of Priests, arbitrary transfers would be ended, a tenure policy would give priests the right to a hearing before they could be suspended, and priests would be paid a professional salary in lieu of Mass and baptism offerings.[2]

The Human Church called for bishops to be elected for limited terms. It also called for abandoning the parochial school system in favor of programs that teach Catholics the principles of Christian action. The book argued that the Catholic Church should abandon its tax exemptions and let individual congregations create their own liturgies and creeds. Citing DuBay's "public expressions of insubordination" and a lack of the bishop's imprimatur, the Vatican ordered DuBay to cease selling and distributing his book. DuBay protested that "prior censorship is a ghost that has been hovering around the Catholic Church since the Spanish Inquisition" and refused to stop distributing The Human Church.[3]

DuBay was a chaplain at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica and later a parish priest in that city. In 1968, after his suspension from the priesthood, he married Mary Ellen Wall in Idyllwild, California.[4] They had a child, Zubi. From 1975 to 1987, DuBay lived in Alaska, where he edited The Arctic Policy Review, a monthly magazine that covered economic and political developments in the Arctic. In 1988, he returned to southern California and became a technical writer and writing teacher. DuBay is the author of "Roots of the Holocaust", a book that attempts to understand the youth of Adolf Hitler in Vienna. The work examines the city and experiences that formed Hitler as a man.[5]

In 1965, Tom Laughlin told the Milwaukee Sentinel that he planned to make a film about DuBay, but the film never came to fruition.[6]

DuBay left his papers to the archives of the University of Southern California.


  • The Human Church (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966)
  • Gay Identity: The Self Under Ban (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., Inc, 1987)
  • The Principles of Readability (CA: Impact Information, 2004)
  • Unlocking Language: The Classic Readability Studies (Seattle, WA: Booksurge Publishing, 2007)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Cogley, John (August 22, 1965) "Religion: Churchmen on Riots." New York Times. p. E5.
  2. ^ Editors (March 4, 1966) "For a White-Collar Union." Time.
  3. ^ Editors (August 19, 1966) "The Issue of Imprimatur." Time.
  4. ^ Editors (August 11, 1968) "Suspended Priest Marries Divorcee." New York Times. p. 38.
  5. ^ http://impact-information.com/wordpress/?page_id=27
  6. ^ Herzog, Buck (July 1, 1965). "Laughlin Plans Second Film". Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved February 19, 2010.