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Archbishop Kurtz offers his intervention at synod

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, center, arrives for the afternoon session on the first working day of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, center, arrives for the afternoon session on the first working day of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, in the second week of a three-week long trip to Rome, delivered his intervention — or presentation — to the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on Oct. 7. He is taking part in the synod in his role as the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Archbishop of Louisville said during a phone interview after giving his intervention that he spoke primarily about marriage and the need for pastoral outreach to families experiencing difficulties.

He and the other bishops taking part in the synod have been asked not to disclose the text of their interventions, so they may feel free to speak “frankly for the good of the church,” the archbishop said.

The synod is considering a range of issues related to family life, some of which are controversial. Summaries of the bishops’ interventions are published daily by the Vatican without the authors’ names, the archbishop said.

“I see our primary task as restoring confidence in marriage, uncovering the beauty of the teachings of Jesus” on marriage, he said in the phone interview. “But pastoral actions, in every age, involve some creativity. And that is the task of the synod.”

In a video interview by Catholic News Service, Archbishop Kurtz explained in more detail, “Our Holy Father has said this is not a synod dealing with doctrinal change, but it is a synod seeking, I would say, creative pastoral ways to reach out to people.”

A fundamental issue for the synod, he said, is restoring confidence in the vocation of marriage, asserting that a permanent marriage founded on sacrificial love is attainable.

The second issue, he said, is “How do we walk with people who themselves have experienced difficulties? I would like to say there’s no perfect family and so that’s really every family.”

During his trip to Rome, the archbishop also had a brief meeting with Pope Francis on Oct. 4.

“It was a very, very good meeting. The Holy Father of course loves to learn more and more about the Catholic Church in the United States. While it isn’t formally announced, it’s his intention to come to Philadelphia next year,” Archbishop Kurtz said.

The 30-minute meeting concluded a week of visits with the Roman curia, part of the archbishop’s duties as the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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