On Sunday, Pope Francis announced that Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. will be America’s first Black Cardinal.
Gregory, who was alive during the Civil Rights Era, thanked Pope Francis in a statement obtained by The Christian Post. “With a very grateful and humble heart, I thank Pope Francis for this appointment which will allow me to work more closely with him in caring for Christ’s Church,” he said Sunday.
Gregory, who is now 72 years old, made headlines when he spoke against Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd. “Many of us remember similar incidents in our history that accompanied the Civil Rights Movement, where we repeatedly saw Black Americans viciously brutalized by police on television and in newspaper photos. The horror of George Floyd’s death, like all acts of racism, hurts all of us in the Body of Christ since we are each made in the image and likeness of God, and deserve the dignity that comes with that existence,” he said in a statement on the Archbishop of Washington website.
The archbishop was also highly critical of President Trump, stating he thought Catholics were being “manipulated” by the President in a way that “violates our religious principles.” One of these principles includes the need to “defend the rights of all people, even those with whom we disagree.”
In total, there are roughly 72 million Catholics in America. Of that, some 3 million Catholics are Black Americans. As for clergy, according to The Christian Post, there are 250 Black priests and 400 Black nuns.
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