Howard James Hubbard

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
Howard J. Hubbard
Bishop Emeritus of Albany
Hubbard at his retirement party in 2014
ProvinceNew York
AppointedFebruary 1, 1977
InstalledMarch 27, 1977
Term endedApril 10, 2014
PredecessorEdwin B. Broderick
SuccessorEdward Bernard Scharfenberger
OrdinationDecember 18, 1963
by Martin John O'Connor
ConsecrationMarch 27, 1977
by Terence Cooke, Edwin Broderick, and Edward Joseph Maginn
Personal details
Born (1938-10-31) October 31, 1938 (age 80)
Troy, New York
Nationality U.S.A.
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
MottoRejoice, We Are God’s People
Styles of
Howard James Hubbard
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop
Ordination history of
Howard James Hubbard
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byTerence Cooke
DateMarch 27, 1977
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Howard James Hubbard as principal consecrator
Harry Joseph FlynnJune 24, 1986

Howard James Hubbard, DD (born October 31, 1938) is a United States prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the ninth Bishop of Albany, as well as the longest-serving incumbent.

Early life and ministry[edit]

Howard Hubbard was born in Troy, New York, to Howard and Elizabeth Hubbard. He attended La Salle Institute, and entered Mater Christi Seminary in 1956. He furthered his studies at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers and the Pontifical North American College and Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. While in Rome, Hubbard was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Martin O'Connor on December 18, 1963.[1]

Upon his return to the United States, he served as associate pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Schenectady and at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. He then did his graduate studies in social services at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Prior to his appointment as Bishop of Albany, Hubbard founded Hope House, a drug rehabilitation center,[2] and served as a "street priest" in Albany's South End.[3]

Episcopal career[edit]

On February 2, 1977, Hubbard was appointed Bishop of Albany by Pope Paul VI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following March 27[4] from Cardinal Terence Cooke, with Bishops Edwin B. Broderick and Edward Joseph Maginn serving as co-consecrators. He was the youngest bishop in the country at the time,[5] "and was dubbed 'the boy bishop.'"[6]

"Hubbard served on "the U.S. Conference of Catholic [Bishops']...Committee for International Justice and Peace, of which he was chairman; and the Subcommittees on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Church in Africa. He also served on other national bishops’ committees, including the Committees on Human Values, Marriage and the Family, Communication, Laity and North American College."[7] Appointed by Pope John Paul II to the Vatican's Secretariat for Non-Christians (now the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue), he is a supporter of the ecumenical movement, serving as Roman Catholic Co-chair of the Oriental Orthodox-Roman Catholic Consultation. Under his leadership, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany maintained an active Catholic-Jewish dialogue,[8] and has been at the forefront of efforts to achieve a good working relationship between the Roman Catholic Diocese and the Jewish community. During his tenure, Hubbard presided over a nearly $20 million renovation project at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.[9] He also led a parish consolidation process--known as "Called to BE Church"—that resulted in the closing of 33 parishes.[10]

Seen by some as a liberal bishop,[11][12][13] and known for his "progressive views on drug addicts and prisoners" and his "advocacy of sometimes unpopular social justice issues",[14] Hubbard was noted for "his ecumenical skills, his social activism, and his concern for the poor."[15] "When he became bishop, Hubbard sold a big house along New Scotland Avenue where previous bishops had lived in luxury with a domestic staff. He gave up the driver and big, fancy car."[16] In 2013, it was reported that then-Bishop Hubbard collected "an annual salary of $33,508, the same as any priest with a similar number of years of service."[17] Hubbard once sued to prevent abortion clinics from opening in the cities of Albany and Hudson,[18] and he headed New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty.[19]


In February 2004, Hubbard was accused of having engaged in homosexual activity with two different men in the 1970s.[20] Hubbard denied the accusations and asserted that he had never engaged in a sexual relationship.[21] At the request of the Diocese of Albany, the accusations against Hubbard were investigated by former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White.[22] In June 2004, White released a 200-page report stating that she had found "no credible evidence" to support the accusations against Hubbard.[23] John Aretakis, "the attorney who arranged for two of the bishop's accusers to air their charges,"[24] was later suspended from the practice of law for unrelated professional misconduct.[25]

Also in 2004, the Diocese of Albany "reported that 19 priests committed sexual abuse in the past 53 years, and investigations are pending into allegations involving 10 current and former priests..."[26] On March 19, 2011, Hubbard placed three retired priests on administrative leave and removed another from the ministry after receiving allegations of child sexual abuse.[27] Hubbard has apologized for shortcomings in the way that he and the Diocese responded to the sexual abuse crisis.[28] Under his leadership, the Diocese of Albany helped to create and fund a program to assist victims of clergy sex abuse.[29]

In February 2011, canonist Ed Peters argued that New York's Governor, Andrew Cuomo, should be denied Holy Communion for his cohabitation with his girlfriend, Sandra Lee.[30] In March, Hubbard gave an interview in which he explained that he would not deny Holy Communion to Cuomo.[31]


Hubbard submitted his required letter of resignation to Pope Francis when he reached the age of 75. At the time of his retirement, Hubbard's tenure as bishop was the longest in the Diocese's history, at 37 years; the previous record of 35 years was held by Edmund Gibbons.[32] On February 11, 2014, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted Hubbard's resignation and appointed as his successor Rev. Msgr. Edward Bernard Scharfenberger, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Episcopal Vicar for the area of Queens.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bishop Howard James Hubbard". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
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  27. ^ "Retired priest removed, 3 on leave". Times Union. 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
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  31. ^ "Cuomo's Right to Holy Communion Is a Private Matter, Bishop Says". New York Times. 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  32. ^ "Bishop to mark 25 years leading Diocese". The Evangelist. 2002-03-14. Archived from the original on 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  33. ^ "Pope names bishop for Albany diocese; Rockville Centre to get auxiliary". National Catholic Reporter. February 11, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Edwin Broderick
Bishop of Albany
Succeeded by
Edward Bernard Scharfenberger