New Details in Church Controversy

Capital News 9 [Albany NY]
February 18, 2004

There's new information surrounding a controversial letter criticizing the sexual practices of Bishop Howard Hubbard.

A writer for a conservative Catholic newspaper said he spoke to the late Father John Minkler shortly after Minkler met with an official from the diocese.

Paul Likoudis writes for "The Wanderer," based out of western New York. We spoke to him Tuesday night on the phone. Likoudis told us Father Minkler had a brief meeting with Father Kenneth Doyle, but that he never met with Bishop Hubbard.

Likoudis said, "Father Doyle gave him a statement to sign. All he said was sign this. And the statement was that he knew nothing about this confidential letter he wrote to Cardinal O'Connor in 1995. He signed it with mental reservations, and had a great deal of regret after doing so."

Likoudis said he is certain Father Minkler wrote the letter in question.

In a written statement, the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese maintains Father John Minkler denied four times to officials of the diocese, that he had written a letter critical of Bishop Howard Hubbard.

Father Minkler was found dead in his Watervliet home on Sunday.

Autopsy results show no foul play or forced entry. We're expected to learn more about his death when test results come back.

Meanwhile, the diocese has hired Mary Jo White as a independent investigator to look into allegations made against Bishop Hubbard earlier this month.

White is a former U.S. Attorney who led the investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and helped prosecute convicted mafia boss John Gotti.

Bishop Hubbard said he has never broken his vow of celibacy.