Howard James Hubbard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Howard J. Hubbard

Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese 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 81)
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 and Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Albany. Hubbard was the ninth Bishop of Albany, serving as Bishop from March 27, 1977 to April 10, 2014.

Early life and ministry[edit]

Howard Hubbard was born in Troy, New York, to Howard and Elizabeth Hubbard. He attended St. Patrick's School and La Salle Institute, entering Mater Christi Seminary in 1956. He furthered his studies at St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie (where he obtained a college degree in philosophy) and Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. While in Rome, Hubbard was ordained to the priesthood on December 18, 1963.[1][2]

Hubbard engaged in postgraduate study in social services at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He served as associate pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Schenectady and at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany.[1]

Prior to his appointment as Bishop of Albany, Hubbard founded Hope House, a drug rehabilitation center,[3] and served as a "street priest" in Albany's South End.[4] He also founded Providence House, a crisis intervention center. Hubbard served as Vicar General of the Diocese from 1976 to 1977.[1]

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[5] 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,[6] and was dubbed "the boy bishop."[4]

Hubbard served as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee for International Justice and Peace and on 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.[6]

He was appointed by Pope John Paul II to the Vatican's Secretariat for Non-Christians (now the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue), and he is a supporter of the ecumenical movement, serving as Roman Catholic Co-chair of the Oriental Orthodox-Roman Catholic Consultation. Under his leadership as bishop, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany maintained an active Catholic-Jewish dialogue.[4]

During his tenure as bishop, Hubbard presided over a nearly $20 million renovation project at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.[4] He also led a parish consolidation process—known as "Called to BE Church"—that resulted in the closing of 33 parishes.[3]

Hubbard had a reputation as a liberal bishop.[7][8] He is known for progressive views on drug addicts and prisoners, and for advocacy of sometimes unpopular social justice issues.[4] He is also noted for his anti-poverty efforts.[9][4] Upon becoming bishop, Hubbard sold a large house where previous bishops had lived in luxury with a domestic staff. He also dispensed with the custom of having a luxury car and a driver.[4] In 1992, he began living "in almost monastic simplicity in a nondescript, squat brick building" across the street from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.[4] As of 2013, then-Bishop Hubbard reportedly collected an annual salary of $33,508, the same salary as any diocesan priest with a similar number of years of service.[4] Hubbard once sued to prevent abortion clinics from opening in the cities of Albany and Hudson,[10] and he headed New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty.[11]

Abuse crisis and allegations[edit]

In February 2004, Hubbard was accused of having engaged in homosexual activity with two different men in the 1970s.[9] Hubbard denied the accusations and asserted that he had never engaged in a sexual relationship.[9] At the request of the Diocese of Albany, the accusations against Hubbard were investigated by former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White.[9] In June 2004, White released a 200-page report stating that she had found no credible evidence to support the accusations against Hubbard. White added that the investigation found "no evidence that Hubbard 'led a homosexual lifestyle, engaged in homosexual relations or visited gay bars'".[12] Furthermore, White indicated that her investigative team had reviewed more than 20,000 documents and conducted over 300 interviews in connection with the Hubbard investigation.[13]

Also in 2004, the Diocese of Albany reported that 19 priests had committed sexual abuse in the past 53 years, and that investigations were pending into allegations involving 10 current and former priests.[9] 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.[14] Hubbard has apologized for shortcomings in the way that he and the Diocese responded to the sexual abuse crisis.[4] In 2004, during Hubbard's tenure, the Diocese of Albany created the Independent Mediation Assistance Program; this program allowed persons who were abused by diocesan priests or employees as minors to request and obtain financial assistance.[15][16]

On August 14, 2019, a civil lawsuit was filed in which Hubbard was accused of sexually abusing a teenaged boy in the 1990s.[17][18] On August 16, Hubbard responded, "'With full and complete confidence, I can say this allegation is false. I have never sexually abused anyone in my life. I have trust in the canonical and civil legal processes and believe my name will be cleared in due course.'" Hubbard also announced that he was taking a voluntary leave of absence from public ministry until the matter was resolved.[19] On September 16, 2019, an unnamed woman alleged that Hubbard and two other priests had sexually abused her in the rectory of Immaculate Conception Church in Schenectady in the late 1970s when she was a teenager. Hubbard denied this accusation as well.[20]


Hubbard submitted his required letter of resignation to Pope Francis on October 31, 2013, when he reached the age of 75.[21] 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.[22][23] Hubbard's final day as Bishop of Albany was April 10, 2014, the day Scharfenberger was consecrated and installed as Bishop of Albany.[24][25] At the time of his retirement, Hubbard's tenure as bishop was the longest in the Diocese's history at 37 years.[26] Hubbard's post-retirement title is Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Albany.[24][1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "About Us: Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard". The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.
  2. ^ "Bishop Howard James Hubbard". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  3. ^ a b "Hubbard reflects upon his long tenure as he prepares for retirement". The Record (Troy). October 27, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Grondahl, Paul (29 September 2013). "Hubbard: I tried to be a compassionate shepherd". Times Union.
  5. ^ "Bishop Howard Hubbard celebrated 50 years after ordination". The Record (Troy). October 20, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Pope Names Brooklyn Priest as Bishop of Albany, New York; Names Rockville Centre, New York Priest as Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. February 11, 2014.
  7. ^ "Albany Bishop Fights Abuse Allegation". Washington Post. March 4, 2004.
  8. ^ Gibson, David (February 2, 2010). "Through the eye of the needle exchange..." Commonweal Magazine.
  9. ^ a b c d e McGrath, Darryl (March 14, 2004). "In Albany, sexual accusations raise a bishop's high profile". Boston Globe.
  10. ^ Berger, Joseph (13 January 1985). "Catholic Bishop Sues on Abortions". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "Bishop: Suspend the death penalty". Record Online. March 3, 2000.
  12. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (June 25, 2004). "Report Clears Albany Bishop In Sexual Misconduct Inquiry" – via
  13. ^ Stanforth, Lauren (August 14, 2019). "Hubbard's past defenses of abusive priests — and of himself". Times Union.
  14. ^ "Retired priest removed, 3 on leave". Times Union. 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  15. ^ Lyons, Brendan J. (March 28, 2018). "Albany diocese urged to form new victim compensation plan". Times Union.
  16. ^ Zangla, Ariel. "Pain remains for priest who says he was abused as a child". Daily Freeman.
  17. ^ Cropley, John (August 14, 2019). "Bishop Emeritus Hubbard accused of sex abuse". The Daily Gazette. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  18. ^ Hughes, Steve; Silberstein, Rachel; Goodwin, Mike (August 14, 2019). "Lawsuit: Former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard sexually abused teen". Times Union (Albany). Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  19. ^ "In statement, Hubbard denies abuse allegations". Times Union. August 16, 2019.
  20. ^ Harris, Cayla; Hughes, Steve (September 17, 2019). "Former Albany bishop denies second abuse claim". Times Union (Albany). Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  21. ^ "Bishop search may take a while". Daily Gazette. November 9, 2013.
  22. ^ "Pope names bishop for Albany diocese; Rockville Centre to get auxiliary". National Catholic Reporter. February 11, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  23. ^ "Brooklyn priest to replace Hubbard as bishop". Daily Gazette. November 2, 2014.
  24. ^ a b "Retirement not in the plan". Albany Times Union. April 10, 2014.
  25. ^ Fitzgerald, Bryan (April 10, 2014). "Amid pageantry, Albany has a new bishop". Times Union.
  26. ^ Grondahl, Paul (August 14, 2014). "Bishop Scharfenberger's subtle changes, smooth transition". Times Union.

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

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