Louisville, Ky., Jul 23, 2019 / 10:01 am (CNA).- Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville has stepped down from leading the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ religious liberty committee as he undergoes treatment for bladder cancer.
Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts, has been appointed as his replacement and will serve as acting chair of the committee until the November 2019 General Assembly meeting.
“We are praying for Archbishop Kurtz, especially as he undergoes an intense treatment plan at Duke Cancer Institute over these next several weeks and months,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, in a July 23 statement released by the conference.
“I very much appreciate Bishop McManus’s agreeing to step into this chairmanship role and lead the important work of the Committee for Religious Liberty,” he added.
Previously, McManus was chairman of the Subcommittee on Health Care Issues from 2012 until 2018, and also was the chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education from 2005 until 2008. He is a member of the Committee on Doctrine and was a former member of the Pro-Life Activities Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee. He is a native of Providence, Rhode Island and was a priest in the Diocese of Providence before becoming a bishop.
Kurtz announced on July 10 that he had been diagnosed with urothelial carcinoma, the most common form of bladder cancer. He will be undergoing treatment at Duke University, and is expected to receive 12 weeks of chemotherapy, followed by surgery to remove his bladder and prostate.
Kurtz, who formerly served as president of the bishops’ conference, said he had “good cause for optimism” and will be staying in North Carolina for the duration of his treatment.