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.