Joseph Edward Kurtz

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Joseph Edward Kurtz
Archbishop of Louisville
AppointedJune 12, 2007
InstalledAugust 15, 2007
PredecessorThomas C. Kelly, O.P
OrdinationMarch 18, 1972
by Joseph McShea
ConsecrationDecember 8, 1999
by Gabriel Montalvo Higuera, Thomas C. Kelly, and Edward Peter Cullen
Personal details
Birth nameJoseph Edward Kurtz
Born (1946-08-18) August 18, 1946 (age 72)
Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
DenominationRoman Catholic
ResidenceLouisville, Kentucky
ParentsGeorge and Stella (née Zmijewski) Kurtz
Previous post
Alma materSt. Charles Borromeo Seminary
Marywood University
MottoHope In The Lord
Styles of
Joseph Edward Kurtz
CoA Joseph Edward Kurtz.svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleArchbishop
Ordination history of
Joseph Edward Kurtz
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byGabriel Montalvo Higuera
DateDecember 8, 1999
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Joseph Edward Kurtz as principal consecrator
William MedleyFebruary 10, 2010
Charles C. ThompsonJune 29, 2011
John StoweMay 5, 2015
J. Mark SpaldingFebruary 2 (Candlemas), 2018

Joseph Edward Kurtz (born August 18, 1946) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the fourth and current Archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky, having previously served as Bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee from 1999 to 2007. Kurtz also served as the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops between 2013 and 2016.

Early life and ministry[edit]

Joseph Kurtz was born in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, to George and Stella (née Zmijewski) Kurtz. He is of Polish descent.[1] One of five children (Rose Marie, Theresa, George, and Patricia), he entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1964, from where he obtained a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a master's in divinity. Kurtz was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Joseph McShea on March 18, 1972, and did his post-graduate work at Marywood University in Scranton, earning a master's in social work.

During his priestly ministry in the Diocese of Allentown, Kurtz served as a high school and college teacher, an administrator, and a pastor in Catasauqua and Bethlehem. He was raised to the rank of Monsignor in 1986.


On October 26, 1999, Kurtz was appointed the second Bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee, by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following December 8 from Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo Higuera, with Archbishop Thomas Kelly, OP, and Bishop Edward Cullen serving as co-consecrators, before a crowd of approximately 5,000 people at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Kurtz was later named Archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky, on June 12, 2007. His installation took place on August 15 at Louisville Gardens.

Archbishop Kurtz, in addition to his diocesan duties, also serves as Chairman of the Committee on Marriage and Family Life of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Kurtz was elected as the Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in November 2010.[2]

On November 11, 2013, Kurtz was elected as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

On February 19, 2014 he was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.[3]

On Friday, November 14, 2014, during the fall meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, of which he then was President, he was elected as one of the delegates to the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family, pending Vatican approval.[4]

Doctrinal positions[edit]

Kurtz is generally seen as a conservative and a firm follower of Vatican directives on doctrine and liturgy. The Rev. Thomas J. Reese indicates that Kurtz fits the mold of a "smiling conservative" in the vein of New York's Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, who is "very gracious but still holds the same positions" as a cleric like Philadelphia's Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who has not hesitated to call out Catholic politicians who dissent from church teachings on abortion.[5]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 18, 2011. Retrieved February 3, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Crisis Magazine: getting to know the new VP" November 10, 2010
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "US bishops elect delegates to synod: Kurtz, Chaput, DiNardo, Gomez". Catholic News Agency. November 14, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  5. ^ Louisville Courier Journal: "Archbishop Joseph Kurtz's star is rising: Kurtz's growing prominence stirs speculation about higher posts"[permanent dead link] October 2, 2011

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Thomas C. Kelly, O.P.
Archbishop of Louisville
2007 – present
Preceded by
Timothy M. Dolan
President of the USCCB
November 12, 2013 – November 16, 2016
Succeeded by
Daniel DiNardo
Preceded by
Anthony O'Connell
Bishop of Knoxville
Succeeded by
Richard Stika