Friday, January 23, 2015

Archbishop Kurtz on the Synod on the Family

On January 7, the Department of Theology at Bellarmine University hosted a public conversation with Archbishop Joseph Kurtz on the Synod on the Family; Archbishop Kurtz is the archbishop of Louisville and is the current president of the  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Archbishop Kurtz and I spoke in 2013 about Pope Francis, and I wrote about our conversation for the Bellarmine University magazine.  Given his prominent role as a delegate to the Synod on the Family, I contacted him to ask if he'd be willing to discuss publicly his experiences at the Synod, his understanding of the issues at stake, where he sees the Synod going in 2015, as well as his personal impressions of Pope Francis.

Our conversation took place on a cold evening, but despite the weather, a sizable group of Louisvillians came to hear the Archbishop speak on the Synod and to raise their own questions.  When I announced on Twitter that this event would take place, a number of people outside Louisville asked whether the conversation would be recorded.  Archbishop Kurtz agreed to the event being recorded, and the video of our discussion is embedded below.  I, rather embarrassingly, mixed up the notion of gradualism with another concept, but Archbishop Kurtz very graciously corrected me.  Archbishop Kurtz was open in his assessment of the Synod, and he very willingly opened up the floor for questions from the audience.  He mentioned throughout the conversation that such events like this are vital for him as a bishop as he discerns the issues at stake and his responses to them.

Photo above by my colleague, Dr. Justin Klassen, Assistant Professor of Theology


  1. What would a celibate cardinal, an archbishop and a pries really know about the 24/7 hands on responsibilities of being a parent and the enormous difficulties/stresses of trying to keep a family together?

    For a much more honest appraisal of this synod I would suggest that you check out the various postings on this topic on the superb Bilgrimage website, and the various websites that link into it.

  2. And would this chap wear his fancy dress while changing nappies, wiping up pooh and vomit. Would he even prepare his own food and wash the dishes afterwards?

    Remember too that clothing is a form of body armor which serves two fundamental purposes especially for people of high rank, whether "religious" or secular.
    It armors one against feeling-vulnerability to/of the human condition.
    It communicates both power and privilege - even supposedly untouchably so.
    We are thus supposed to be more deeply shocked if such a person is ridiculed, assaulted or murdered.