Hubbard Enemies Plan 'Pep Rally'
Albany-- Church Conservatives to Speak to Local Group about Removing Bishop
By Michele Morgan Bolton
Albany Times Union [Albany NY]
April 23, 2004
Two Midwestern conservative activists determined to unseat Bishop Howard Hubbard -- and any other Catholic bishop they believe is actively homosexual -- make a return trip to the Capital Region on May 8.
Stephen Brady of Illinois, president of Roman Catholic Faithful, and Paul Likoudis, of the Minnesota Catholic newspaper The Wanderer, will speak at a daylong conference sponsored by the Coalition of Concerned Catholics of the Albany Diocese.
The event is called "Agony in Albany -- Leadership in Crisis."
"It's kind of a pep talk; where we go from here ... how we hope to accomplish Hubbard's removal," Brady said Thursday in telephone interview.
In February, he and Likoudis led a contentious forum at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Albany that drew about 200 people. The meeting took place just days after the Rev. John Minkler committed suicide at his Watervliet home.
The 57-year-old priest, who was a chaplain at the Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, was mourned by Brady and Likoudis as their longtime ally against Hubbard.
Minkler's death came after he was publicly identified as the author of a 1995 letter to then-New York Archbishop John O'Connor that accused Hubbard of homosexual behavior and theological transgressions -- and after he signed a statement for the diocese denying that he wrote the letter.
Brady and Likoudis renewed their call for Hubbard's resignation when he was accused in February of having sex in the 1970s with one man who later killed himself and another who was a teenage prostitute in Washington Park.
Hubbard has denied any breach of his priestly celibacy and welcomed an investigation being conducted for the diocese by former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White.
Many local Catholics have rallied in support of their bishop.
On Thursday, an outspoken advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse criticized Brady, Likoudis and others for "piggybacking" their personal agendas onto the current crisis.
"I welcome anyone who wants to speak out passionately about the pain victims have suffered," said Mark Furnish, director of the Capital District chapter of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.
"But they're equating pedophilia with homosexuality, and that's hurtful," Furnish said. "We're about educating the community. They're taking that away."
Brady countered: "The abuse is the most horrific result of this crisis. But the crisis is not based in clergy misdeeds. It's the bishop's loss of faith and inactivity at the root of the problem -- the cancer."
Diocesan spokesman Kenneth Goldfarb said Brady "is seeking to misuse the serious and legitimate sexual abuse issue to further the political goals he has been unable to achieve."
"The idea of an Illinois group coming to Albany to impart its views on the Albany diocese seems to us to be unseemly," Goldfarb said.
Bob McCauley of East Greenbush, a founder of the Coalition of Concerned Catholics of the Albany Diocese, said Minkler will be a topic of discussion at the daylong conference.
"I was very impressed with him when we met two years ago," McCauley said.
Minkler's body was found by one of his two sisters.
They have not spoken publicly about his death or a note he left behind. But Brady said he has spoken with them about their desire to hire a lawyer to consider suing the diocese for damages in his death.
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