Pope appoints first Black American cardinal in surprise announcement
- Pope Francis announced 13 new cardinals who will earn a red hat next month in a surprise announcement on Sunday.
- Among those named is D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who will be the first Black American to be named cardinal.
- 73-year-old Wilton is from Chicago and became the first Black American to become the archbishop of D.C. last year.
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On Sunday, Pope Francis announced he would make D.C. archbishop Wilton Gregory cardinal next month, becoming the first Black American to do so.
The Pope named 13 new cardinals in a surprise announcement, including Gregory, according to the Associated Press. All of these churchmen will earn a red hat on November 28, the AP reported.
Gregory, 73, was born in Chicago and had been ordained as a priest in the city in 1973, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Last spring, Gregory was named as the archbishop of D.C. and became the first Black American to take a position with such a level of influence in the US Church. D.C. archbishops typically become cardinals, according to Post. But Gregory will become the first Black American to step into the role which marks a symbolic first for church leadership.
This summer, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Gregory joined eight bishops in writing a letter acknowledging the Church's "sins and failings" as it pertains to racial justice.
"With regret and humility, we must recognize that as Catholic leaders and as an institution we have, at times, not followed the Gospel to which we profess and have been too slow in correcting our shortcomings," the letter said.
The letter said "prayer and dialogue, alone, are not enough," and affirmed the Bishops' support of policies including access to health care, prison reforms, housing anti-discrimination reforms, and juvenile justice reforms.
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