U.S. Bishops Elect New President

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz succeeds Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

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Jim Stipe / Catholic Relief Services / AP

Archbishop Kurtz, Archbishop Dolan, and an unidentified child during a mass at the Missionaries of Charity home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 22, 2008.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops elected Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville to succeed Cardinal Timothy Dolan as the bishops’ next president on Tuesday morning. Kurtz, 67, currently serves as the USCCB vice-president. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, 64, of Galveston-Houston was elected as the body’s next vice-president. “By what name will you be called?” Cardinal Dolan joked after Kurtz was elected, referencing Pope Francis’ election this spring.

Kurtz’s election comes as no surprise. Traditionally the USCCB vice-president is elected as the conference’s next president. Cardinal Dolan however broke the pattern at the last election in 2010, when he defeated then-vice-president Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson.

Kurtz, 67, served as the chairman of USCCB’s then-Ad Hoc Committee on the Defense of Marriage before his vice-presidential term began in 2010, and he currently serves on the National Catholic Bioethics Center board of directors. He previously served as Bishop of Knoxville from 1999-2007. DiNardo currently serves as a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

The bishops voted via electronic ballots—that looked like mini-remote controls—in a simple majority-wins election. The vice-president was elected from the remaining nine candidates after the president was chosen.

Kurtz and DiNardo’s term begins when the annual fall meeting concludes Thursday. The other candidates on the ballot were, in alphabetical order, Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami.