Archbishop Kurtz named president of bishops conference

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz

The Diocese of Knoxville’s second bishop has been elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Former bishop Joseph E. Kurtz was elected to the high-ranking Church leadership post on Nov. 12 on the first ballot with 125 votes and will serve a three-year term that begins at the conclusion of the USCCB General Assembly in Baltimore on Nov. 14. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston was elected vice president of the USCCB.

Archbishop Kurtz succeeds Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Cardinal DiNardo succeeds Archbishop Kurtz. Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Kurtz have served as USCCB president and vice president since 2010. The president and vice president are elected by a simple majority from a slate of 10 nominees.

Bishop Richard F. Stika and the Diocese of Knoxville delivered a heart-felt congratulations to Archbishop Kurtz.

“The Diocese of Knoxville and I would like to congratulate Archbishop Kurtz on his election as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The bishops conference will benefit greatly from Archbishop Kurtz’s experience and guidance in this important leadership position for the U.S. Catholic Church,” said Bishop Stika, who serves on the USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.

“The Diocese of Knoxville was blessed by the leadership Archbishop Kurtz provided to our diocese for seven years and we thank him. We will pray for him as he begins this new role. I also would like to thank Cardinal Timothy Dolan for his service as president of the bishops conference for the past three years. Cardinal Dolan did an exemplary job in leading the USCCB,” Bishop Stika added.

Archbishop Kurtz was named the second bishop of the Diocese of Knoxville by Blessed John Paul II. He was ordained and formally installed on Dec. 8, 1999, at the Knoxville Convention Center and served until 2007, when he was appointed archbishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., by Pope Benedict XVI.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, guided by the Gospel of Christ and the teachings of his Church, acts collaboratively on vital issues affecting the Catholic Church and society; fosters communion with the Catholic Church in other nations and within the universal Church under the leadership of the pope, and also offers assistance to U.S. bishops in fulfilling their ministry in the local Church.

Archbishop Kurtz was born Aug. 18, 1946, and ordained a priest of Allentown, Pa., on March 18, 1972. Cardinal DiNardo was born May 23, 1949, and ordained a priest of Pittsburgh on June 16, 1977. He previously served as bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, from 1998-2004 before being appointed to coadjutor bishop, then archbishop of Galveston-Houston. Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal in 2007, making him the first cardinal from Texas.

Also during the USCCB General Assembly, the bishops elected:

• Archbishop George J. Lucus of Omaha chairman of the Committee of Catholic Education.
• Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of Newark, N.J., to the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance.
• Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore, to the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
• Archbishop-designate Leonard P. Blair of Hartford, Conn., to the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.
• Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, N.M., to the Committee on International Justice and Peace.
• Bishop Edward J. Burns of Juneau, Alaska, to the Committee on Child and Youth Protection.

On Nov. 11, the following bishops were elected to the board of Catholic Relief Services: Bishop William P. Callahan, OFM Conv., of La Crosse, Wis., Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Fla., and Bishop Cirilo B. Flores of San Diego.

Also on Nov. 11, the following bishops were elected to the board of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc.: Bishop Richard Garcia of Monterey, Calif., and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami.

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