(Left) Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville and (right) Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston have been elected president and vice president, respectively, of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. (CNS photos)
This morning the United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops, meeting in Baltimore for their annual fall assembly, elected Archbishop
Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky as the conference’s new
president. He will begin his three-year term at the conclusion of the bishops’
meeting on Thursday morning, succeeding Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York as
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston
was elected vice president of the USCCB; after three rounds of voting he beat
out Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput, 147-87.
Archbishop Kurtz has served as vice president of the
bishops’ conference since 2010. While it is customary for the vice president to
be elected president at the conclusion of the three-year term, it does not always
play out that way; Dolan was elected president in 2010 rather than then-vice
president Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson.
Archbishop Kurtz, 67, has been archbishop of Louisville
since 2007, having served as bishop of Knoxville from 1999-2007. Ordained a
priest for the Diocese of Allentown in 1972, he serves on the boards of the
Catholic Extension Society and the National Catholic Bioethics Center.
Cardinal DiNardo, 64, has been archbishop of
Galveston-Houston since 2006, after serving as bishop of Sioux City, Iowa since
1998 (read J.J. Ziegler’s profile of DiNardo from the August/September 2010
issue of CWR here).
Elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007, he became
the first cardinal from the American South. For several years he served as
chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and last spring he
participated in the conclave that elected Pope Francis.
Back in July 2011, Archbishop
Kurtz spoke with Jim Graves for CWR about, among other things, the role of
do you believe is the proper role for the USCCB?
Kurtz: Pope John Paul’s 1998 apostolic letter Apostolos
Suos tells us that episcopal conferences have a three-fold role.
First, they promote unity among the bishops with the Holy Father. This role is
important, and underestimated.
At each meeting, for example, the
bishops make a Holy Hour and have confessions. To me, that is one of the most
important things we do. It fosters unity. It is based on the call to holiness
that each of us is called to embrace, especially the bishops in our leadership
role. We must support each other in our mission to follow Christ on a path of
Second, episcopal conferences
help diocesan bishops in their pastoral care of the local church. In my work
over the past six years on the Initiative on Marriage, for example, much of
what I’ve tried to do is to provide material to the local church that can be
used in catechetical programs and our Catholic schools.
Third, and most familiar to
people, episcopal conferences provide a vehicle for addressing the vital issues
of our day. These include respect for human lifeadvocating for the common good
in legislation and regulation to protect the human person from conception to
Read more of that interviewwhich covers
same-sex marriage, vocations, and the archbishop’s own spiritual lifehere