Monday, June 11, 2007

more on Bishop Kurtz

Last year, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had an article profiling several potential bishops to replace Bishop Wuerl who had become the Archbishop of Washington, D.C. Among them was Bishop Kurtz:
BISHOP JOSEPH E. KURTZ, 59, of the Diocese of Knoxville, Tenn., is a native of Mahanoy City, Schuylkill County. He is chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family Life, which makes him the bishops' point man on gay marriage.

But his forte is caring for the poor. His father was a coal miner. His older brother, who died in 2002, had Down syndrome and lived with the bishop. After his 1972 ordination for the Diocese of Allentown, he became a licensed social worker.

He ran the diocese's social services. He was also a successful parish pastor from 1986 to 1999, before going to Knoxville.

There, he sponsored joint social services between Catholic Charities and Lutheran Services, and was honored for his outreach to the area's new Hispanic community. He lobbied state legislators for tax reform and spoke at a rally to abolish the death penalty.

A Pittsburgh priest called him utterly unpretentious.

"I think he would be accepted by the clergy almost as a local guy," the priest said.

Bottom line: He would answer the prayers of priests for a bishop with parish experience. Catholic Charities here is in transition and he appears to be an ideal choice to position it for the future. The only drawback is that the church tends to keep Southern bishops in place for a long time.

See also The National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage: Six Next Steps and Marriage Protection Amendment Press Conference

No comments: