Loading
US bishops' new leaders commit to protecting human dignity
(L-R) Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville and Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo at the USCCB's Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, Nov 12, 2013. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.
(L-R) Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville and Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo at the USCCB's Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, Nov 12, 2013. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.
By Adelaide Mena
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The incoming leaders of the U.S. bishops’ conference voiced a commitment to reaching out in love to defend human life and dignity wherever it is threatened in the modern culture.

“We’re responding to where the need is,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., the president-elect of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

At a Nov. 12 press conference during the U.S. bishops’ annual fall gathering in Baltimore, he emphasized that the bishops must respond to “what is going on in our culture,” and where the needs and energies of the Church are at a given moment in time.

The archbishop responded to an earlier message delivered on behalf of the Pope by papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, which he characterized as “primarily a call to be pastoral.”

Pope Francis is challenging the U.S. Church, Archbishop Kurtz said, to “warm hearts and heal wounds,” while serving the needs of the preborn, elderly, migrants and others who are “voiceless and vulnerable,” particularly in the American “culture of indifference.”

The incoming bishops’ president stressed that he “would be reluctant to fit us into a category,” or any political or ideological camp, adding that issues of immigration, defense of marriage, a robust religious freedom, and protection of human life are all part of the Church’s response to threats against human dignity in society.

The archbishop stated that the American Catholics “are very much in solidarity with Pope Francis,” on addressing poverty.

He noted that the bishops’ conference “has been a steady stream of funding programs that are lifting people up from poverty,” as well as “finding ways to change structures that hold them back.”

Of particular focus, the Archbishop Kurtz said, is effort to “look at the disintegration of the family” and find ways to help strengthen marriage and family life in an effort to alleviate poverty. He noted that “one out of every five children are in poverty,” nationwide, and there are several studies linking poverty to a decline in “the solidity of the family.”

Upcoming synods on pastoral care and the family, scheduled for 2014 and 2015, will allow for a “robust consultation” on these topics, he explained.

The archbishop also addressed the Church’s efforts to defend religious freedom, saying that this is an essential part of the bishops’ “effort to support the dignity of the human person.”

“We know that faith enriches public life,” he explained. “Our effort is to have a robust expression of religious freedom in a way that acknowledges how important that is not only to the believer, but to and the good of our nation.”

He said that every effort “ to speak on behalf of the voiceless and vulnerable puts us in a position to potentially” open the door to a “good and healthy relationship” with the Obama Administration and other branches and levels of government.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, vice president-elect of the bishops’ conference, added that the Church “will never stand down from our defense of human person, particularly at the beginning and end of life, and at the end of life. That’s non-negotiable.”

At the same time, the U.S. Church will continue its “persistent” focus on fighting “the causes of poverty at the local levels,” and work to aid immigrants, he said.

On the topic of immigration, the cardinal explained that while there are those “on both sides of the aisle,” the ongoing question is based on “a significant aspect of our respect for the human person.” He added that because “the tempo and interaction on this issue has picked up,” there will likely be a more visible emphasis on immigration within the next several years.

“The resolve of all of our bishops is clear on the role of the immigrant,” said Archbishop Kurtz. “It’s really a question of human dignity.” He added that the bishops’ conference will be expanding its efforts to educate the laity on “the reason for our interest in immigration.”

Archbishop Kurtz highlighted this work, in addition to peace efforts in the Holy Land and around the world, as additional ways in which the Church works to promote and defend human dignity in its teaching and actions.

In carrying out these activities Cardinal DiNardo pointed to the Pope’s writings, speeches and actions during the Year of Faith, saying that they have placed an emphasis on “the credibility of faith, the encouragement of faith and the illumination that faith gives.”

“To my mind that’s something that the conference wants to see happening in all places,” he said, encouraging his fellow bishops to emphasize “good teaching, good witnessing and good pastoring.”

Archbishop Kurtz and Cardinal DiNardo were elected by the body of bishops on Nov. 12. Their three-year terms officially begin at the conclusion of the bishops’ meeting on Nov. 14.

Tags: USCCB, Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop Kurtz

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
20

Liturgical Calendar

October 20, 2014

Monday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:13-21

Gospel
Date
10/20/14
10/19/14
10/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 2: 1-10
Gospel:: Lk 12: 13-21

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/20/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:13-21

Homily
Date
10/20/14
10/19/14
10/18/14