Thursday, February 19, 2004

More on Albany

From The Record:

"A potentially explosive letter purportedly written by the late Rev. John Minkler in 1995 claims 23 priests in the Albany Diocese are actively homosexual. Furthermore, the letter says Hubbard had a relationship with two priests and names another bishop as being actively homosexual."...

...The unsigned letter is somewhat of a mystery. Whether Minkler is even the author is under some dispute. After the letter was given to the media and his name affixed to it, he went to the diocese and signed an affidavit stating he was not the author. Whether he was called to the diocese or went freely is also in question.

Rev. Joseph Wilson of Queens said he had an hour long conversation with Minkler the day a television report tied Minkler to the letter and two days before Minkler was found dead in his Watervliet home. According to Wilson, Minkler told him he had written the letter, but the two did not talk about the affidavit.

Wilson said Minkler, a priest at the Stratton Veterans Administration Hospital, was "horrified" when the conversation started, but "hopeful" by the time it ended. Minkler's cause of death may not be determined for a couple weeks, but there were reports that a note had been found and suicide has not been ruled out.

Minkler and Wilson are both conservative, orthodox priests but they had never heard of each other before the conversation. They were brought together by Paul Likoudis, the editor of The Wanderer, an ultra-conservative weekly newspaper run by lay people who cover the Catholic Church. In the past, the paper has been very critical of Hubbard and the way he runs the diocese and there is speculation that Minkler was a source of much of the information the paper published.

The letter accuses Hubbard of "varied and constant" procedural irregularities during his saying Mass, such as offering wine and bread at the same time and his use of altar girls before they were approved by Rome.