Wilton Gregory is the first black American cardinal. He was appointed by Pope Francis, and the news was announced today from St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City.
Reports say that Gregory is one of 13 cardinals that will be officially appointed during a 28 November ceremony.
Gregory was the first black archbishop in the region when he was named the archbishop of Washington D.C. back in 2019, and the only black archbishop in the US.
He replaces cardinal Donald Wuerl in D.C. after the public was angry surrounding the Catholic Church’s assault scandal.
Gregory’s role as a cardinal will be to elect a new pope when the time comes. Pope Francis confirmed that nine of the 13 new cardinals will be under the age of 80, which means they’ll be eligible to elect his successor.
Gregory spoke about the need to improve race relations within the Catholic Church following the George Floyd incident and the Black Lives Matter movement protests.
Archbishop Jose H. Gomes, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement that Pope Francis is sending a powerful message of hope and inclusion to the Church in the United States by naming Archbishop Wilton Gregory as a Cardinal.