Nov. 28 (UPI) — Pope Francis on Saturday appointed Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory to the College of Cardinals in Vatican City, making Gregory the first Black American to hold the rank of cardinal.
Gregory was presented with a ring and a scroll, as well as a skullcap called a zucchetto and a four-cornered silk hat called a biretta.
Thirteen men became new cardinals at the induction, called a consistory. This year’s ceremony has special health requirements because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including quarantines for the men, who are all in the at-risk age for complications from the virus.
Two of the appointees, Cornelius Sim of Brunei and Jose Fuerte Advincula of the Philippines, participated via a special live stream because of coronavirus travel restrictions.
Gregory, a Chicago native, was formerly the Archbishop of Atlanta between 2005 and 2019. Gregory has focused on diversity in the church, including welcoming members of the LGBTQ community, which became one of his keystone missions.
As now cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C., Gregory will work with President-Elect Joe Biden, the nation’s second Roman Catholic president after John F. Kennedy.
Gregory has said that while he doesn’t share President-elect Joe Biden’s view on abortion, he hopes to build a good relationship with him.
“I want to begin whatever conversations ensue in a positive vein, rather than in an adversarial mode,” Gregory said.
Gregory made headlines this summer when he criticized the Knights of Columbus for hosting President Donald Trump at the St. John Paul II Shrine in northern D.C. the day after protesters were dispersed with tear gas at the St. John Episcopal Church.
Gregory said the Catholic organization was “egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles,” when Trump used the event as a campaign photo opportunity.