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HomeWorld NewsAccused Albany bishop asks to be faraway from priesthood

Accused Albany bishop asks to be faraway from priesthood

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VATICAN CITY — The retired bishop of Albany, New York, who has admitted to masking up for predator clergymen 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 an announcement Friday, the day the United Nations designated because the World Day for the Prevention of, and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence.

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

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

Hubbard has acknowledged masking up allegations of sexual abuse in opposition to kids by clergymen partly to keep away from scandal and shield the popularity of the diocese. He did so in a deposition for one among dozens of claims by lots of of people that have sued the Albany diocese over sexual abuse they are saying they endured as kids, generally a long time in the past.

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But 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 will live long enough to see my name cleared once and for all,” he mentioned.

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

Other U.S. bishops have requested Francis to resign over their mishandling of predator clergymen, 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 youngsters.

Attorneys for abuse survivors hailed Hubbard’s request to go away the priesthood totally because the end result of efforts by victims to carry the Catholic hierarchy accountable for abuse and cover-up. While the U.S. church has had a “one strike and you’re out” coverage in impact for 20 years, it spared bishops from sanction.

Only in 2019 did the Vatican go in-house norms to analyze accused bishops, however these instances 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 feel Hubbard’s removal is not only justified but necessary. This signals to survivors that their voices are being heard,” mentioned lawyer Cynthia LaFave in an announcement issued by the regulation places of work of Jeffrey Anderson, who has represented lots of of abuse survivors within the U.S.

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