National News

Former President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Diagnosed With Cancer

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Memphis, Tenn., is at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Memphis March 5, 2019, introducing Bishop David P. Talley of Alexandria, La., as the new bishop of Memphis. (Photo: Catholic News Service)

By Christopher White, The Tablet’s National Correspondent

NEW YORK – Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky and the former president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), announced on Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with bladder and prostate cancer.

Kurtz shared the news of his announcement through his regular column dedicated to the Church’s sex abuse crisis and said that he will soon begin treatment through the Duke University Cancer Institute, which will result in the eventual removal of his bladder and prostate.

“Over the past few months, I have had some health issues that have resulted in medical tests and hospitalizations, and I can now confirm the diagnosis and the treatment plan,” he wrote. “I have been diagnosed with urothelial carcinoma in my bladder and prostate and will take part in a treatment plan that includes immunotherapy and chemotherapy for at least 12 weeks.”

Kurtz noted that he feels well and with the consent of his doctor has remained active during the initial treatment. He also said he would remain in North Carolina during the remainder of his treatment.

“While the doctor gives me good cause for optimism, there are always dangers and unexpected issues that can arise during cancer treatment, so I ask for your continued prayers,” Kurtz wrote.

Kurtz said that he would remain in regular contact with Father Martin Linebach, Vicar General of the archdiocese and its chancellor, Dr. Brian Reynolds.

“Needless to say, I will miss the many opportunities I have to visit parishes and talk with so many of you at upcoming events this summer and fall. You will be in my prayers. Please keep me in yours,” he concluded.

Kurtz, who is 72, has been the archbishop of Louisville since 2007. He served as USCCB president from 2013-2016, during which time he oversaw Pope Francis’s 2015 visit to the United States, and he is currently the chairman of the USCCB’s committee for religious liberty.

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