Wilton Gregory becomes first Black cardinal in U.S.
Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., became the first Black American to earn the rank of cardinal on Saturday.
The big picture: His appointment comes during a time in which the country continues to examine the role of race relations, and as the world endures the many-month stretch of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Gregory — who was already the highest-ranking African American Catholic in U.S. history — gained national attention in June, when he condemned President Trump's trip to a D.C. shrine, saying at the time that the facility was being “egregiously misused and manipulated.”
- "[Saint Pope John Paul II] certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace," the 72-year-old said in a statement.
Details: Gregory was also the only American among 13 men elevated to the College of Cardinals during Saturday's ceremony at the Vatican, per CNN.
- The other new cardinals include men from Rwanda, Brunei, Chile and the Philippines.
- Gregory tested negative for COVID-19 before traveling to Italy, and was tested again upon arrival before quarantining for 10 days at the pope's hotel. The Vatican is presently under a partial lockdown, as Pope Francis’ public general audiences is cancelled, and instead live-streamed.
What he's saying: Gregory said in an interview that he hopes to be a "voice for the African American community in the pope’s ear," according to the Washington Post.
- "Among the people that have congratulated me and wished me well, friends and colleagues, I’ve heard this: It’s about time," Gregory said. "But it is also an important recognition that the African American, the Black Catholic community, is an important component within the larger, universal church."