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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Catholics around the world are getting acquainted with Pope Francis. He is by all accounts a humble man, but much is being made about his subtle nod in his first days leading the church to a more approachable papacy.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz leads the Louisville Archdiocese. He joined Candyce Clifft on WDRB in the Morning to talk about the impact of Pope Francis.
Candyce Clifft: "Talk about Pope Francis, his election in Rome and first of all, what that means for Roman Catholics worldwide."
The Most Reverend Joseph Kurtz, Louisville Archbishop: "Well, of course, our unity is in Christ. As you know, and we go back to almost 2,000 years when Christ said to the Apostle Peter, 'You are Peter and on this rock, I build my church.'"
And Peter made his way to Rome, and since that time, we have had a vicar. It's not so much someone who takes the place of Jesus. Jesus is the center and foundation of our life. But one who gets us and leads in unity, truth, charity and in the person of Jesus Christ.
So, for us Catholics throughout the world -- 1.1 billion Catholics now -- the Holy Father is a source of unity, as he draws us closer to Christ. We're thrilled of course, and, I guess I was among those we were surprised how fast the unity of the cardinals occurred. And then, pleasantly surprised with just these first steps that our new Holy Father has taken."
Candyce Clifft: "What kind of direction do you see him leading the Catholic church in?"
The Most Reverend Joseph Kurtz, Louisville Archbishop: "I think two things that were obvious. He began in prayer. And so as a very humble man, he will be actually not asking us to do anything he won't do, and so he leads us closer to Christ in prayer. And I thought it was great that the prayers that he led everybody in saying were accessible. They were prayers we say every day, the first prayers we teach our children.
In fact, the first one was the prayer that Jesus taught his apostles when they asked him about it. And then I think choosing the name Francis, you know, we're spanning 800 years but many people know Francis of Assisi, that prayer for peace and that prayer that not so much to be understood but to understand. And I think it is universally known, and so, I think that those two messages, his beginning in prayer and that very simple life. First person, the first pope ever to choose Francis. And Francis was not a pope, he was not a bishop or a priest. He was at the end of his life a deacon, and that's the image of serving.
Aren't you impressed? He didn't think that he would get a photo op when he paid his bill at the hotel that he stayed in and maybe that's typical of what we can expect of the new Holy Father."
Candyce Clifft: "And how did that have implications for Catholics in Louisville?"
The Most Reverend Joseph Kurtz, Louisville Archbishop: "Well, you know, in any case, in any leader, we have both not only encouragement and leadership, but also someone who models things. And so I think that it is going to call forth a real desire to serve those most in need, to serve people who are poor.
Certainly, a desire to remain true to our teachings within our church, and I think that a real humility in saying, hey, let's get back to the basics. I think that he said that the church without Christ, would be a very pitiful N. G. O. You know, non-governmental organization.
And so, people who would want to turn the church into a non-governmental organization, they are selling short really the impact that Christ can have on their lives. And I think that he's going to say meaning our Holy Father, not just alone, but, with one another. As you can see, I'm thrilled and I'm excited."
Pope Francis will be installed as the new pontiff in a special mass at the Vatican on March 19th.