Kurtz reflects on new role, what it means for Lou.


by Claudia Coffey


Posted on November 15, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 15 at 6:08 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Louisville's Archbishop Joseph Kurtz is back in town for the first time just days after being elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In his new role, he'll help coordinate and lead charitable activities and provide a public face for the Catholic Church in the U.S.,  And getting more face time with the pope.

Today he reflected on his new role and what it means for Louisville.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz is embracing his new role with a sense of humor and humility.

"I will never admit to being a workaholic, I resist that, but I do have a steady pace. And I will continue that steady pace," Archbishop Kurtz said.

On Tuesday, Kurtz was elected as the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. A prominent role, as the President, he is the main spokesman on national issues for the Catholic Church in the United States and acts as a representative of the American church to The Vatican and the Pope. He says he'll remain the Archbishop here but will be traveling more.

"Thank god for the internet because already today, I was able to remain very active and present here in the Archdiocese of Louisville and already give an hour to the work of the conference," Archbishop Joseph Kurtz said.

Already he's scheduled to meet with Pope Francis next October. So how is taking all the changes and added responsibility? He says he'll take time to reflect the end of the month and learn from his predecessor, Cardinal Dolan.

"That's also what I will do is pick the brain of previous presidents. I also meet with Cardinal George in Chicago," Kurtz said.

He has faced some criticism after being named president. Those with SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, hopes Archbishop Kurtz's election to President will turn a new page on an ugly chapter. Many feel he hasn't been outspoken enough on condoning the actions of priests involved in abuse.

"If he's had the same attitude he's had here, kind of hands off, I just don’t think we are going to promote any healing," Cal Pfieffer, with SNAP, said.

"I will say this with regards to sexual abuse and the church. We have made great progress. But do we have more to do? Absolutely," Kurtz said.

Archbishop Kurtz will travel to Mexico Friday evening, Nov. 15, for a Conference with Bishops in Central America.