Pope Francis Appoints First African-American Cardinal


ROME — Pope Francis stated on Sunday that Wilton Gregory — the archbishop of Washington and an architect of the U.S. Roman Catholic Church’s zero-tolerance coverage in response to its clerical sexual abuse disaster — can be elevated to cardinal, making him the primary African-American to carry such a place.

The archbishop is certainly one of 13 new cardinals introduced on Sunday.

The elevation of Archbishop Gregory, the primary American named as a cardinal since 2016, comes as demonstrations for racial justice and debates over methods to tackle the legacy of slavery and racism have dramatically shifted the dialog about race in the US. In current months, Archbishop Gregory has urged the church’s leaders to enhance race relations, recalling his time as an auxiliary bishop within the Archdiocese of Chicago, and the way necessary it was for younger Black Catholics to see a bishop who regarded like them.

“Ours is the duty and the privilege of advancing the objectives that have been so eloquently expressed 57 years in the past by such distinguished voices on that day,” Archbishop Gregory stated in August, throughout a Mass commemorating the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington. “Women and men, younger and outdated, folks of each racial and ethnic background are wanted on this effort.”

He added: “We’re at a pivotal juncture in our nation’s wrestle for racial justice and nationwide concord.”

The archbishop of Washington is commonly elevated to cardinal. Archbishop Gregory took over a diocese as soon as led by Theodore McCarrick and Donald Wuerl, two prelates tarnished by the church sexual abuse disaster of the early 2000s. Final yr, Pope Francis stripped Mr. McCarrick first of his title as cardinal after which of his standing as priest after accusations of sexual abuse in opposition to him that the church deemed credible. Cardinal Wuerl left the place underneath a cloud of controversy amid accusations that he had failed to stop abuse many years earlier in his diocese in Pittsburgh.

Archbishop Gregory, who served for years within the diocese of Atlanta, can also be a former president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference and is taken into account consistent with Francis’ pastoral and welcoming strategy within the church.

The ceremony to put in the brand new cardinals is ready for Nov. 28, and the Vatican supplied no particulars about how it might conduct the consistory, an ornate ceremony wherein the pope bodily places crimson hats onto the heads of the brand new cardinals, given considerations over the coronavirus and new restrictions introduced in Italy on Sunday.

Often, new cardinals maintain public receptions for effectively wishers and the devoted within the palaces of the Vatican and its convention corridor. With journey restrictions in place for a lot of nations, it’s unclear whether or not a few of the bishops will probably be in a position make the journey.

9 of the 13 males named on Sunday, together with Archbishop Gregory, are underneath age 80 and due to this fact eligible to take part within the subsequent conclave to elect Francis’ successor. The brand new cardinals chosen by Francis mirror his priorities, making it extra probably that the faculty will elect somebody like him.

His record additionally included Celestino Aos, the archbishop of Santiago, Chile, a lift for the Catholic church in a rustic the place numerous bishops resigned in 2018 after a sexual abuse scandal.

Different new appointees embrace prime Vatican officers like Marcello Semeraro, the prefect accountable for sainthoods; and individuals who carefully signify Francis’ imaginative and prescient, comparable to Mauro Gambetti, a Franciscan friar and custodian of the Holy Convent of Assisi, which is carefully related to St. Francis. It was that saint whose identify the pope, formerly Jorge Mario Bergoglio, adopted upon assuming the papacy.

Francis additionally tapped as cardinals prelates from the world over, comparable to Antoine Kambanda, archbishop of Rwanda; Jose Fuerte Advincula, archbishop of Capiz within the Philippines; and Cornelius Sim, archbishop of Brunei.

The appointees who’re over age 80 and due to this fact can not forged a vote within the subsequent papal election embrace Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of Mexico; the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, a Franciscan friar within the pontifical family; Silvano Tomasi, a former Vatican diplomat to the United Nations; and Enrico Feroci, the previous director of Caritas, the church’s charity arm.

Gaia Pianigiani contributed reporting.