Report that Pope Francis has picked a new D.C. archbishop eclipsed by doubts and conspiracy theories

The Washington Post

March 30, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein

When the pope names a new bishop for a diocese, it’s always buzzy Catholic news. But a leaked report this past week about the next archbishop of Washington was big news for unexpected reasons.

The Catholic News Agency, citing anonymous sources, reported Thursday that Pope Francis is going to appoint Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory to replace embattled D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl — which would make Gregory the first black Catholic archbishop of the capital, one of the most high-profile posts in the nation. The news was quickly eclipsed by questions, doubts and conspiracy theories about the sources behind it.

Had Gregory really been offered the job — or was someone allied with the pope floating a trial balloon to gauge sentiment in the District, an epicenter of the current clergy sexual abuse crisis?

Or could the report, in a conservative-leaning publication, have been leaked purposely by Francis critics in the Vatican or elsewhere to hurt and possibly scuttle the pick of Gregory, loathed by some orthodox Catholics as too liberal?

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