Pope Francis appoints Archbishop Wilton Gregory as first Black cardinal

Pope Francis appoints Archbishop Wilton Gregory as first Black cardinal

Pope Francis named 13 new cardinals Sunday, Wilton Gregory among them.

The Pope said a ceremony will be held Nov. 28 to confirm the appointments.

Gregory, 73, is to be the first Black dignitary to earn the title.

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“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,” Gregory said in a statement.

Francis chose him as archbishop to oversee the Washington, D.C. diocese last year after former Cardinal Donald Wuerl was accused of mishandling sexual abuse cases. Gregory has been known as one of the leading American bishops advocating for the prevention of child sexual abuse.

It is common for archbishops of the U.S. capital city to be elevated to cardinal.

Gregory previously served as archbishop of Atlanta and as former president of the U.S. Bishops' Conference.

Gregory is among nine men named as cardinals Sunday who are under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote in the next conclave to elect Francis' successor.

“The new cardinals chosen by Francis reflect his priorities, making it more likely that the college will elect someone like him,” New York Times reporter Jason Horowitz wrote Sunday.