Louisville Archbishop Elected President of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

 

Strong pro-lifer who authored “The Blessing of the Child in the Womb”

By Ernie Ohlhoff, Director of Outreach

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, right, of New York, outgoing president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, congratulates Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, after he was elected the new USCCB president. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, right, of New York, outgoing president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, congratulates Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, after he was elected the new USCCB president.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

When Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky, was elected President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, one strong pro-lifer replaced another. Archbishop Kurtz, who served as vice president of the USCCB for three years, succeeds Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.

Archbishop Kurtz is a long time pro-life supporter who authored “The Rite For Blessing Of The Child In The Womb” in 2008 while he was bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee.

In accepting the position as president, Archbishop Kurtz wrote, “I am deeply honored that the body of bishops has elected me to serve as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, calls us to witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I look forward to serving my brother bishops as together we seek to serve our Lord.”

In an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal that appeared November 1, Archbishop Kurtz told reporter Peter Smith

“In a nation founded on the self-evident truth that all are created with an inalienable right to life, the deliberate destruction of unborn children at their most vulnerable stage is a travesty. It is a violent response that does not serve women, children, families or the common good.”

In a 2012 posting on the website of the Archdiocese of Louisville. we learn about the origins of “The Rite For Blessing Of The Child In The Womb” and how it received approval from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. In an interview Kurtz, who was then Bishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville, explained how a retired priest had written to ask him if a blessing for the unborn child existed.

“I knew there was a blessing for a child after birth, a blessing for a child before baptism and a blessing for women who are pregnant, but I couldn’t find one for a child in the womb” [Archbishop Kurtz said].

Archbishop Kurtz asked the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-life Activities if such a blessing existed. When it was discovered that one did not, the pro-life committee drafted a text and submitted it to the divine worship committee in 2008,” Archbishop Kurtz said.

From there the proposed text was sent to the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. The announcement was made in late March of 2012 that the blessing would be ready to use by (that) coming Mother’s Day. …

”When we promote church teachings, there’s always an element of defending — regarding the child in the womb. This (blessing) is also about lifting up and promoting that gift of a child,” (Archbishop Kuntz noted.)

(You can read the entire blog here.)

Margie Montgomery, who is a long-time member of the Board of Directors for National Right to Life from Kentucky, was overjoyed with Archbishop Kurtz’ recent election.

“Besides having an unequivocal pro-life position on all of our key abortion issues, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz makes time for legislative hearing, goes to Frankfort, our state capital, when needed to promote our bills, such as our ultrasound amendment to our Informed consent law, attends our Right to Life dinners and those of the Crisis Pregnancy Centers, in Louisville. His energy is incredible and his smile when he meets folks is very genuine. He is very popular with his flock!”

Archbishop Kurtz was born on August 18, 1946, in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania. He was ordained a priest Diocese of Allentown on March 18, 1972. He served in a variety of positions as a priest for the Diocese of Allentown for 27 years.

Archbishop Kurtz served as Bishop of Knoxville from 1999 to 2007. In 2007 he became the forth Archbishop of Louisville.