Pope Names Wilton Gregory Next Archbishop of Washington

Christopher White writes:

As the U.S. Catholic Church faces what is arguably the greatest challenge in its history, Pope Francis has tapped the man who guided the U.S. bishops through the 2002 sexual abuse crisis to lead the archdiocese of the nation’s capital, after its long-serving cardinal resigned under fire last year for his handling of abuse cases earlier in his career.

At the same time, the pope has also named the first African-American prelate to lead an archdiocese seen as one of the centers of African-American culture in the United States, with a timed announcement that coincides with the 51st anniversary of the death of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

After months of speculation, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, 71 and past president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has been named as the new archbishop of Washington….

John Gehring, the Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, and a parishioner in the Washington archdiocese, told Crux that he believes Gregory will be a bridge-builder who seeks to “listens before he speaks.”

“Archbishop Gregory is a great choice because he’s someone who builds bridges and brings a sense of humility to the job,” said Gehring. “He has the daunting task of trying to unite people in a divided church while also speaking truth to power at a time when the president of the United States has used his bully pulpit to sow fear of immigrants and stoke racial animosity. That’s both his challenge and his opportunity.”