29 March 2019, The Tablet

Archbishop Wilton Gregory asked to lead Washington archdiocese, according to reports

Gregory, as president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2001 - 2004, helped navigate the Church’s 2002 abuse scandals

Archbishop Wilton Gregory asked to lead Washington archdiocese, according to reports

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, presides over the Mass marking the feast of St. Matthew during the Fifth National Encuentro, or V Encuentro, in Grapevine, Texas, Sept. 21
CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

Pope Francis is expected to appoint Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta to serve as the next Archbishop of Washington, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports.

Archbishop Wilton would become the seventh Archbishop of Washington, succeeding Cardinal Wuerl, who resigned in October 2018 following the publication of the Pennsylvania grand jury report where he was heavily criticised over his handling of abuse allegations against three priests while bishop of Pittsburgh.

Gregory’s possible appointment to the archdiocese follows an avalanche of child sex abuse accusations in the US church, and CNA report that his selection is likely to have been made, at least in part, in recognition of his experience in dealing with the fallout of the last major abuse crisis in the Church. Gregory, as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2001 to 2004, was responsible for helping to lead the American hierarchy through the Church’s 2002 sexual abuse scandals. 

He is also part of a working group – together with Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz – which is examining and developing proposed reforms for enhancing episcopal accountability.

One bishop told CNA that Gregory’s age, 71, might be a barrier in his accepting the appointment. If he is to accept he would become the first African-American bishop to hold the post.

A Chicago native, Gregory was ordained priest in 1971 and consecrated bishop at the age of 36. He served as an auxiliary bishop in his home diocese under Cardinal Joseph Bernardin from 1983 until 1994.

In 1994 Gregory became the Bishop of Belleville, Illinois, where he remained for ten years before moving to Atlanta in 2004.



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