LDS and Catholics are promoting “the gift of family” and “safeguarding religious freedom.”
The Most Reverend Joseph Kurtz, the Archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky, and the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, visited the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) located in Salt Lake City, on May 4, 2016. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen the relationship between the two faiths. According to Reverend Kurtz, it is important that the two religions stand together on issues like the “gift of family” and “safeguarding religious freedom,” for the ultimate good of America.
Accepting the invitation extended to him by the LDS leaders, Reverend Kurtz also met with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Presiding Bishopric, and the Presidency of the Seventy. According to John Taylor, the LDS director of interfaith relations, meeting with the Archbishop has been a delight, and it was enlightening to hear his views on faith, family, and religious freedom. The relationship between the two faiths has grown over the past couple of years, and the Archbishop's visit has definitely served to strengthen that relationship.
Previous high-profile visits and meetings include the late Cardinal Francis Eugene George's 2009 meeting with Mormon leaders and his speech at the Brigham Young University, First Counselor in the First Presidency Henry Bennion Eyring's 2014 speech at a Vatican summit and his meeting with Pope Francis, and the recent Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speech at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
According to Reverend Kurtz, during his visit, he experienced a mutual respect with the LDS Church leaders. He also developed a friendship with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Elder, Dallin H. Oaks. The LDS Church leaders and its members are really talented, and their desire to follow the gifts of the Holy Spirit is great.
— Malcolm Adcock (@MalcolmAdcock) May 7, 2016
Reverend Kurtz says that he comes from a blessed family. He had three older sisters and an older brother who had Down syndrome. He has been his brother's guardian for the last 12 years of his life. Living with his brother greatly influenced his approach towards his service to Jesus Christ.
Expressing his gratitude for the leadership of Pope Francis, Reverend Kurtz said that the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia released by the Holy Father is a beautiful document. It talks about the various qualities that a married couple and the family should have. Quoting the late Pope St. John Paul II, Reverend Kurtz says that family is the basic building block of society, as well as of Church. According to Pope Francis, the Church consists of a family of families.