Pope Francis appoints first African-American cardinal USA and Canada

Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, made headlines this year for criticizing Donald Trump’s visit to a Catholic shrine.

Pope Francis has confirmed 13 new cardinals to the highest rank in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, including the first African-American to hold this office.

At a ceremony held at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Saturday, which was downsized due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the pope handed the 13 men a ring and a traditional red hat called a burette.

Wilton Gregory, who has been Archbishop of the Diocese of Washington since May 2019, was the first African-American to be appointed to the College of Cardinals.

“I am very grateful and humble to thank Pope Francis for this appointment, which will allow me to work more closely with him in caring for the Church of Christ,” Gregory said in a statement issued last month.

He told the Associated Press ahead of Saturday’s ceremony that he sees his appointment as “a legacy of black Catholics living in the United States, a legacy of faith and fidelity that we stand for”.

Outspoken civil rights advocate, 72-year-old Gregory, made headlines in June when he criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for a planned visit to a II. In the sanctuary in honor of Pope John Paul in the American capital.

The visit came a day after police used tear gas to disperse racist justice protesters who protested after George Floyd’s assassination to allow Trump to allow the White House to photograph in front of a nearby church.

The controversial events took place at the height of a U.S.-wide movement to eradicate police violence and discrimination against black people.

In a June 2 statement, Gregory said it was “incomprehensible and reprehensible” that a Catholic facility “allowed Trump to be abused and manipulated in such an unusual way with such a visit”.

“II. Pope John Paul enthusiastically defended human rights and dignity … Of course, he would not allow the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter, or intimidate them for photography before the place of prayer. and peace, ”Gregory said.

Pope Francis leads Saturday’s consistory ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican [Fabio Frustaci/Pool via Reuters]

With the new cardinals on Saturday, Pope Francis named 73 of the 128 cardinals of voting age, while XVI. Pope Benedict 39, II. St. John Paul is 16.

The ceremony known as the consistory is the pontificate of Francis 7.

Nine of the 13 cardinals appointed on Saturday are under the age of 80 and may enter a secret conclave under Church law to select the next pope from among them after Francis ’death or resignation.

These nine come from Italy, Malta, Rwanda, the United States, the Philippines, Chile, Brunei, and Mexico. Brunei and Rwanda acquired their first cardinals on Saturday.