At a Challenging Moment, Cardinal Gregory Makes His Mark

National Catholic Register

December 17, 2020

Amid a national reckoning on racial equality, a polarized campaign season, and the Vatican’s release of the McCarrick Report, Washington’s Catholic shepherd became the first African American to be named a cardinal.

By Joan Frawley Desmond

During the Nov. 28 consistory at St. Peter’s Basilica where he would become the first African American cardinal, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington heard Pope Francis preach on the Gospel and warn against the temptation to abuse ecclesial power.

In his homily for the consistory, the Pope reflected on the passage from Mark’s Gospel in which Jesus refers to his crucifixion while walking with his disciples to Jerusalem. On that journey, said Francis, Jesus alludes to his death to prepare his disciples “for the trials to come” and to encourage them to accompany him to the cross.

But James and John want to take a different path, the “road of those who, perhaps even without realizing it, ‘use’ the Lord for their own advancement,” the Pope added, calling out the use of “the scarlet of a cardinal’s robes” for “worldly” gain.

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