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Accused Albany bishop asks to be faraway from priesthood : International


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VATICAN CITY — The retired bishop of Albany, New York, who has admitted to masking up for predator monks and has himself been accused of sexual abuse, has requested Pope Francis to take away him from the priesthood.

Emeritus Bishop Howard Hubbard, 84, introduced the choice in a press release Friday, the day the United Nations designated because the World Day for the Prevention of, and Therapeutic from Little one Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence.

Hubbard stated he wished to be laicized, or returned to the lay state, as a result of he might not perform as a priest, given U.S. church coverage that bars accused monks from ministry. If accepted, laicization would relieve Hubbard of his celibacy obligations.

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Asking the pope for voluntary laicization is uncommon, particularly for a bishop and notably for a cleric who denies abuse allegations towards him. Often monks ask to be laicized if proof of abuse towards them is overwhelming or in the event that they need to depart the priesthood to get married. The Vatican can forcibly laicize monks, or defrock them, as a punishment for such crimes as clergy sexual abuse.

Hubbard has acknowledged masking up allegations of sexual abuse towards kids by monks partly to keep away from scandal and defend the repute of the diocese. He did so in a deposition for one in every of dozens of claims by lots of of people that have sued the Albany diocese over sexual abuse they are saying they endured as kids, typically a long time in the past.

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However he has strongly denied accusations that he himself abused minors. In his assertion Friday, Hubbard repeated that declare of innocence.

“I hope and pray I’ll reside lengthy sufficient to see my identify cleared as soon as and for all,” he stated.

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Hubbard ran the diocese in New York’s Capital District from 1977 to 2014.

Different U.S. bishops have requested Francis to resign over their mishandling of predator monks, however not be eliminated altogether from the priesthood. Francis in 2019 forcibly defrocked ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after a church investigation decided he sexually abused adults and kids.

Attorneys for abuse survivors hailed Hubbard’s request to go away the priesthood solely because the fruits of efforts by victims to carry the Catholic hierarchy accountable for abuse and cover-up. Whereas the U.S. church has had a “one strike and also you’re out” coverage in impact for twenty years, it spared bishops from sanction.

Solely in 2019 did the Vatican go in-house norms to analyze accused bishops, however these circumstances have been shielded in secrecy with no full public accounting of who has been investigated or sanctioned and leaving it to particular person dioceses or bishops conferences to launch info.

“We really feel Hubbard’s removing is just not solely justified however obligatory. This indicators to survivors that their voices are being heard,” stated legal professional Cynthia LaFave in a press release issued by the regulation workplaces of Jeffrey Anderson, who has represented lots of of abuse survivors within the U.S.

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