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First Black American Cardinal Named In Latest Vatican Surprises

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At a time when the United States is debating the legacy of historic racism and many across the country are demonstrating for racial justice, Pope Francis named Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C among the 13 men promoted to the rank of cardinal.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory becomes the first African American cardinal named since 2016, when the Pope elevated Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark and Cardinal Kevin Farrell, head of the Vatican office for family issues.

The Pope said he would make the men cardinals in a ceremony called a consistory on November 28.

Archbishop Gregory became the first black man to lead Catholic in Washington, D.C., when Pope Francis appointed him to succeed Cardinal Donald Wuerl in April 2019.

His elevation was expected since all archbishops of Washington have been made cardinals since it became an independent diocese in 1947.

Archbishop Gregory has spoken out on racial questions numerous times.

Following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis in May, the archbishop said the “incident reveals the virus of racism among us once again even as we continue to cope with the covid-19 pandemic.”

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