Baltimore, Md., Nov 13, 2013 / 17:43 pm
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.”