By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two Pennsylvania natives have been elected to lead the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, who studied for the priesthood here in Philadelphia and is a native of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, was elected president of the organization during its meeting in Baltimore on Tuesday.
He currently serves as leader of the Archdiocese of Louisville, but spent several years working in parishes in the Allentown and Bethlehem area and with Catholic Charities. He had served three years as vice president of the conference.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, a native of Pittsburgh and who spent several years working in the diocese there, is the archbishop of the Galveston-Houston. He was elected the new vice president of the organization.
DiNardo beat Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput in the balloting.
Philadelphia-based journalist Rocco Palmo, who covers the Catholic Church and the papacy, says Kurtz and DiNardo are well-grounded in dealing with people at the parish level.
“The experience of being parish priests, you know, that completely changes your outlook on the world,” Kurtz says. “You’re not dealing with theoreticals, you’re dealing with real people and real situations.”
Palmo says both men embrace new mission for the clergy set by Pope Francis – getting closer to the poor and to common people.