LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times
November 25, 2020
By Tracy Wilkinson
Washington DC – Few of his parishioners were surprised when Washington, D.C., Archbishop Wilton Gregory took on President Trump.
Gregory isn’t known to speak out often about issues specifically facing Black Americans. But when he does, it is unambiguous and forceful — in words unusually strong for a man of the cloth.
In selecting Gregory, 72, Francis is rewarding a man who over the decades took courageous stands to end sexual abuse by clergy. They were positions that at times seemed to sideline his career, but that put him, his supporters say, on the right side of history and on a firm moral footing.
Like most Black people in the United States, Gregory was not born into the Catholic faith, growing up in a Protestant denomination. It was largely with the great migration of Black Americans from the South to the North in the first half of the 20th century that many turned to Catholicism, drawn partly by its educational opportunities and social work in urban areas.
As a child on the South Side of Chicago, the young Gregory so admired the nuns who taught him in the grade at his Catholic school that he decided he wanted to become a priest. He informed the school’s head father of this ambition, according to a story Gregory often relates. He was told: Well, maybe you should become a Catholic first.
And so he did, taking his first communion while in elementary school.
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