First African-American cardinal seeks frequent floor with Biden administration

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta Wilton Gregory speaks to parishioners in Atlanta, Georgia

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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, D.C. who this week will develop into the primary African-American cardinal, mentioned on Tuesday he needed to search out frequent floor with the incoming U.S. administration regardless of disagreements on some points.

Gregory, who clashed with President Donald Trump earlier this 12 months, is likely one of the 13 Roman Catholic Church prelates whom Pope Francis will increase to the rank of cardinal on Saturday.

The American Church is split over many points, together with abortion. Conservative Catholics have criticised Joe Biden, who will develop into the primary Catholic president since John F. Kennedy in 1961, for his assist of abortion rights.

“I’ve at all times seen myself as somebody who’s charged with being in dialogue and in dialog, so I hope that my dialog with the brand new administration displays that, figuring out full properly that there are areas about which we disagree, but in addition trying to find these areas the place we are able to discover frequent floor,” Gregory mentioned.

Some U.S. conservative bishops say Biden, who attends Mass frequently, ought to be denied the sacrament of communion. Biden says he’s personally against abortion however can not impose the view on others.

Final week, the pinnacle of the U.S. bishops’ convention mentioned Biden’s place on abortion rights created a “troublesome and sophisticated scenario” and introduced the formation of a working group to check its ramifications.

Gregory, 72, considered as a average, spoke to Reuters from a visitor home within the Vatican the place he has positioned himself in quarantine forward of the ceremony with the pope.

BRIDGE DIFFERENCES

He mentioned he needed to work with the incoming U.S. administration to search for “the place we are able to discover issues that we are able to do collectively for the betterment of the American neighborhood, for the individuals of the archdiocese basically. I wish to be one who engages individuals in dialog.”

In June, Gregory criticised Trump’s go to to a Washington shrine honouring Pope John Paul II, a day after police and armed troopers used tear fuel and rubber bullets to clear protesters so Trump could possibly be photographed in entrance of a historic Washington church holding a Bible.

  On the time, Gregory mentioned he discovered it “baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would enable itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated”.

Requested about that assertion, Gregory mentioned Catholic establishments, corresponding to parishes, colleges, hospitals, and social justice and repair actions, ought to be fashions to others.

“We’ve got to be fashions of how we are able to invite individuals to bridge the variations that divide us and search the areas the place we’re on the identical web page,” Gregory mentioned.

“Our establishments should mirror the reality of the gospel, which is an invite for unity and concord somewhat than be used within the divisive manner,” he mentioned.

An outspoken civil rights advocate, Gregory has addressed the dying of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes in Might.

Gregory mentioned he hoped to have the ability to use his new title to be a bridge builder between the African-American Catholic neighborhood and the worldwide Church and can be “inviting all of us to interact in a extra fruitful dialogue on racial and social justice points.”

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