· Vatican City ·

Former President of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops and Archbishop emeritus of Louisville, Kentucky

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz

 Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz   ING-011
17 March 2023

Archbishpo Kurtz, in your opinion, what are the most significant ways Pope Francis has enriched and shaped the Church in these ten years?

In many ways, I think you put your finger on it in terms of the personalization and his desire to see the, I would call it, ‘the person in the pew’ and to be able to encourage all of us to reach out in accompanying people. He uses the word accompaniment a great deal, and I think that has been a great source of joy. I still believe that his first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, was the keynote, and it bridges the gap between his predecessors for Benedict himself, and he talks about the presence of Jesus Christ as being the encounter in which our lives are changed. And I think his focus on peace and the desire to promote joy in the midst of all the suffering that the world goes through, is a great gift.

Being the first mother tongue Spanish-speaking Pope, being from Argentina, what do you think Pope Francis’ leading of the Catholic Church has meant to the country’s large Hispanic presence?

I think they take great pride in the fact that Pope Francis is Latino, and in many ways, I think, one of the few folks, who was not from Europe itself. I think he was diverse, from another continent, and that itself, I think, was great pride and joy. And of course, within the United States, there’s a growing presence of Latino faithful. That’s a great source of joy and pride to many people.