WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- For the first time in history, an African-American was named as cardinal for Washington by the pope.
- Archbishop Wilton Gregory, 72, was among the 13 new cardinal appointments announced on Sunday.
- The newly chosen cardinal who is also a backer for LGBTQ rights, has constantly pushed the Catholic Church to better racial relationships.
Pope Francis assigns Archbishop Wilton Gregory as Washington’s cardinal, the first African American ever to hold the position in the Catholic Church.
“By naming Archbishop Wilton Gregory as a Cardinal, Pope Francis is sending a powerful message of hope and inclusion to the Church in the United States,” said United States Conference of Catholic Bishops president Archbishop José H. Gomez, in a statement.
Archbishop Gregory’s designation, which was one of the 13 new cardinal appointments made on Sunday, comes at a most opportune time just as when racial injustice has increasingly gained public scrutiny following the death of George Floyd.
Gregory, 72, has repeatedly called for the Church leaders to promote racial relations, stressing how significant it will be for Black Catholics to see a bishop of their own color and race.
“Ours is the task and the privilege of advancing the goals that were so eloquently expressed 57 years ago by such distinguished voices on that day,” said Gregory during the commemorative mass in Washington for the 57th anniversary of the March in August. He further added that “people of every racial and ethnic background are needed in this effort.”
The newly installed cardinal had been an advocate of the LGBTQ Catholics as well as for immigration reform and climate change. He was also among the Catholic leaders who denounced Trump this summer for mounting a picture in front of St John’s Episcopal Church opposite the White House.
He and eight others are under 80 years old and are eligible to elect Pope Francis’ successor in the next convocation.
The induction ceremony for the new cardinals is slated on November 28 in Rome. Details about the ceremony were not yet provided given concerns over COVID-19 as well as travel restrictions in various parts of the country.
Source: CBS News