Pope Francis Appoints The First African-American Cardinal

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On Sunday, Pope Francis named 13 new Cardinals to serve at the Vatican. One of those appointments was Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the first black man to be named a Cardinal. Gregory was Archbishop of Atlanta, and then Washington before being elevated to the position of Cardinal. He’s also served as the head of the U.S. Conference of Bishops three times.

In terms of temperament, Gregory has been typically left-leaning in his ideology. He was one of several Catholic leaders to vocally criticize President Trump’s use of military force and tear gas against protesters for a photo op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. The Archbishop went on to say that Pope John Paul II “would not condone the use of tear gas or other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”

In recent days, Gregory has seen himself go from being silently diplomatic, to verbally critical of issues involving politics and race in the U.S. Pope Francis himself has been criticized for voicing a stance on human rights issues, something previous Popes have generally shied away from. With his appointment as Cardinal, Archbishop Gregory adds a black voice to the Vatican and represents a large chunk of the population that the catholic church has criminally underrepresented over the years.

The Vatican has said that a ceremony to formally elevate Gregory and the other new Cardinals will be held on November 28th. There has been no indication as to whether or not COVID travel restrictions will interfere with plans for the ceremony or appointments.

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