Cardinal Gregory “saddened” by divisions in US Church

Cardinal Gregory "saddened"

The first African American cardinal, Wilton Gregory of Washington said he is “saddened” by the tensions in the US church and sees it as part of his job to bolster Pope Francis’ ministry.

The 73-year-old was elevated to the College of Cardinals last November. He spoke from his titular church in the northern outskirts of Rome, Santa Maria Immacolata in Grottarossa.

“Francis has provided extraordinarily generous, kind and sensitive leadership to the church throughout the world,” Gregory told NCR. “And I hope, in whatever way I can, to assist him in that, to support him in that. And to be available to do whatever he might ask me to do and buttressing and supporting his papal ministry.”

The US church is facing two dilemmas: race and the leadership of the US church.

Both Francis and Gregory have indicated they would like to have warm relations with the new president. In contrast, other US bishops have advocated for Biden to be denied Communion, given his political support for abortion rights.

At the US bishops’ meeting last June, Gregory spoke against such measures. He warned that in his 38 years of being a bishop, he had never seen the bishops’ conference so divided.

He told NCR, “I certainly do still see the divisions there, and they trouble me,” the cardinal said. “They sadden me.”

Looking ahead to the next assembly of US bishops in November, Gregory said the US bishops need to look to Pope Francis’ emphasis on “encounter” to overcome their own divisions.

“What I think we have to do more frequently and more effectively is something that Pope Francis has urged the entire church to do. We have to encounter each other,” he said.

“We have to see in each other, even when we disagree, that this is a brother or sister in Christ, for whom Christ has a measurable love, and invites me to love them in return,” he added.


National Catholic Reporter


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