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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.

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


Early life and ministryEdit

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]

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.[2]

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]

Episcopal careerEdit

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'] 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] 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 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 was seen by some as a liberal bishop,[7][8][9] and was known for progressive views on drug addicts and prisoners, and for advocacy of sometimes unpopular social justice issues.[4] He was noted for ecumenical skills, social activism, and concern for the poor.[10]

Upon becoming bishop, Hubbard sold the large house on New Scotland Avenue where previous bishops had lived in luxury with a domestic staff. He gave up the driver and big, fancy car.[4] In 2013, then-Bishop Hubbard collected an annual salary of $33,508, the same as any 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,[11] and he headed New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty.[12]


In February 2004, Hubbard was accused of having engaged in homosexual activity with two different men in the 1970s.[10] Hubbard denied the accusations and asserted that he had never engaged in a sexual relationship.[10] At the request of the Diocese of Albany, the accusations against Hubbard were investigated by former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White.[10] In June 2004, White released a 200-page report stating that she had found no credible evidence to support the accusations against Hubbard.[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.[10] 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] Under his leadership, the Diocese of Albany helped to create and fund a program to assist victims of clergy sex abuse.[15]

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.[16] In March, Hubbard gave an interview in which he explained that he would not deny Holy Communion to Cuomo.[17]


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.[18][not in citation given] 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.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Bishop Howard James Hubbard". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  2. ^ "Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard". Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.
  3. ^ a b "Hubbard reflects upon his long tenure as he prepares for retirement".
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h 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.
  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".
  7. ^ "A Church Divided: Conservatives, Liberals Vie for Changes".
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Through the eye of the needle exchange... - Commonweal Magazine".
  10. ^ a b c d e "Boston Globe / Spotlight / Abuse in the Catholic Church / Scandal and coverup".
  11. ^ Berger, Joseph (13 January 1985). "Catholic Bishop Sues on Abortions" – via
  12. ^ "Bishop: Suspend the death penalty".
  13. ^ "No Evidence: Mary Jo White's Investigation Finds Nothing to Uphold Allegations against Bishop Hubbard".
  14. ^ "Retired priest removed, 3 on leave". Times Union. 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  15. ^ "Diocese Announces Mediation Program Albany's Roman Catholic Diocese Opens Storefront Location in Troy to Serve Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse".
  16. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (22 February 2011). "Cuomo Should Be Denied Communion, a Vatican Adviser Says" – via
  17. ^ "Cuomo's Right to Holy Communion Is a Private Matter, Bishop Says". New York Times. 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  18. ^ "Bishop to mark 25 years leading Diocese". The Evangelist. 2002-03-14. Archived from the original on 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  19. ^ "Pope names bishop for Albany diocese; Rockville Centre to get auxiliary". National Catholic Reporter. February 11, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.

External linksEdit

Episcopal successionEdit