Pope Francis has announced that Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. will be among 13 new churchmen to be elevated to the College of Cardinals at a cardinal-making consistory on Nov. 28 — the seventh of Francis’ pontificate.
Nine of the new cardinal-designates are under 80 and so eligible to vote in a conclave; the other four are octogenarians and so excluded from voting.
Archbishop Gregory, 72, succeeded Cardinal Donald Wuerl as archbishop of Washington in May 2019. Born and raised in Chicago, he served 14 years as archbishop of Atlanta and three years as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2001-2004).
Seen by some as a leading advocate for the prevention of clerical sex abuse, he has held a number of leading roles in the bishops’ conference. More recently, he has attracted headlines for being an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, criticizing the President’s rhetoric last year, and condemning Trump’s visit to the St. John Paul II shrine in Washington in June.
The Pope will also be giving a red hat to Bishop Mario Grech, newly appointed successor to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri as secretary general of the Synod of Bishops — a position traditionally held by a cardinal.
The bishop emeritus of Gozo in Malta, Grech was the principal author of controversial Maltese guidelines on Amoris Laetitia. He outlined his priorities in an interview with La Civiltà Cattolica earlier this month, saying that the coronavirus pandemic has produced a “new model of ministry,” one that must replace previous efforts to “convert secular society” when it is “more important to convert ourselves.”
The Pope will also elevate to the cardinalate Bishop Marcello Semeraro, 73, the newly appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The bishop emeritus of Albano near Rome replaces Cardinal Angelo Becciu, whom Francis dismissed last month under a cloud of financial corruption allegations against him.
Since 2013, Bishop Semeraro has served as Secretary of the Council of Cardinals advising Pope Francis on Church and curial reform. He has taken part in a number of synods of bishops, and has made frequent statements supporting the LGBT community in Italy, emphasizing the need for inclusiveness.
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