Pope Francis Appoints First Black American Cardinal

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Wilton Gregory made history last year when he became Washington, DC’s first African-American archbishop — and he made the history books again on Sunday when he became America’s first Black cardinal.

Pope Francis named 13 new cardinals Sunday, which included Gregory.

“He is well-regarded by the bishops in our country and has proven himself as an individual who can bring people together in a wonderful form of leadership,” Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, told The Tribune. “We are really proud that a native of our own archdiocese has been appointed to the College of Cardinals.”

Gregory’s new role comes as the country is desperately seeking unity as the Trump administration is unyielding in its quest to divide the nation further, stoking racial tensions at every turn.

“By naming Archbishop Wilton Gregory as a Cardinal, Pope Francis is sending a powerful message of hope and inclusion to the Church in the United States,” Archbishop José H. Gomez, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement.

Gregory thanked the pope for awarding him a place on the Catholic church’s highest governing body.

“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 issued by the archdiocese.

Gregory is known for being supportive of the LGBTQ+ community and a staunch advocate of civil rights.

In June, he criticized Trump following his shameless photo-op at St. John’s Church. The country was overwhelmed with protests fighting against social injustice and police brutality at the time.

“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree,” Gregory said in a statement.

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