Archbishop Joseph Kurtz Is the New President of USCCB

By an overwhelming margin, this morning the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops elected Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz as their next president, replacing outgoing president Cardinal Timothy Dolan.  Archbishop Kurtz received 125 votes; the next candidate, Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, received 25 votes for the office of president, and was subsequently elected Vice President with 147 votes.

The slate of ten candidates included Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami.  Archbishop Kurtz had been considered the likely heir to the leadership post, though, because he was Vice President of the conference.

As USCCB President, Archbishop Kurtz will be the most visible leader in the largest religious body in the United States, the 67 million-member Catholic Church.  He will advocate in Washington for the Church’s positions opposing same-sex marriage and  the federal mandate  for contraception coverage.  He will be a liaison between the Vatican and the 445 bishops of the U.S.

In Louisville—and before that, as bishop of Knoxville—Archbishop Kurtz has demonstrated strong conservative values, and has been a staunch defender of Vatican directives on doctrine and liturgy.  Fr. Thomas Reese, a liberal commentator who has frequently disagreed with Vatican politics, has described Archbishop Kurtz as a “smiling conservative” in the vein of New York’s Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, who is “very gracious but still holds the same positions” as Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who has boldly challenged Catholic politicians who dissent from Church teachings on abortion.

Congratulations, Archbishop Kurtz, on assuming this new position.  Your brother bishops have demonstrated their confidence in your leadership.  And we, the people in the pew, will be praying that God will guide you as you seek to do His will.




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