Catholic bishops stick to safe choices, middle ground in electing new leaders

The U.S. Catholic bishops on Tuesday (Nov. 12) stuck with tradition and two known quantities in electing Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston to lead the hierarchy as the bishops wait to see how Pope Francis reshapes their membership.

As the current vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Kurtz’s election as president was expected and he won a 53 percent majority on the first ballot, gaining 125 of 236 votes cast.
The selection of DiNardo as vice president – and likely successor to Kurtz in three years – was seen as a safe choice as well.

“They elected two moderates who are not radical change agents in any way,” said Russell Shaw, a former spokesman for the bishops and author who was at the meeting.