It’s official: Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who since 2005 until now has served as Archbishop of Atlanta, Georgia, as the new Archbishop of Washington. His installation will take place May 17.
This was announced in today’s April 4, 2019, bulletin from the Holy See Press Office, under the section ‘resignations and nominations.’
Chicago-born and raised, Archbishop Gregory, 71, a convert, will be the first African American Archbishop of Washington, a very important post for the U.S. Church.
The post he will oversee includes the country’s capital, the Catholic University of America, and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Archbishop Gregory had been president of the United States Bishops Conference in 2002 and pushed for the Dallas Charter instituting a zero tolerance policy of abuse of minors when the scandals were breaking in Boston.
On Oct. 12, 2018, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl as the Archbishop of Washington. This statement communicated in the following bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, indication resignations and nominations, which was published at noon today Rome time: “The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Washington, United States of America, presented by His Eminence Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl.”
Cardinal Wuerl submitted his resignation in November 2015, when he reached age 75.
The Cardinal issued his own statement following the Pope’s acceptance on the Archdiocese of Washington website, which can be read below:
Statement from Cardinal Wuerl
October 12, 2018
“Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has accepted the resignation first offered on November 12, 2015, when I reached my 75th birthday. I am profoundly grateful for his devoted commitment to the wellbeing of the Archdiocese of Washington and also deeply touched by his gracious words of understanding.
The Holy Father’s decision to provide new leadership to the Archdiocese can allow all of the faithful, clergy, religious and lay, to focus on healing and the future. It permits this local Church to move forward. Once again for any past errors in judgment I apologize and ask for pardon. My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you the people of the Church of Washington.”
The acceptance of the resignation was accompanied by a personal letter of the Pope to the cardinal, that nominates him in the interim as apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese.
The Pennsylvania Grand Jury report published in August 2018 showed that Cardinal Wuerl did not react properly in managing abusive priests during the time where he was Archbishop of Pittsburgh.