ROME — Pope Francis has appointed Atlanta archbishop Wilton Gregory to head up the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, as protesters try to block the nomination.
Archbishop Gregory will be the first African-American to lead the Catholics of the nation’s capital, an archdiocese embroiled in scandal since its former archbishop, Theodore McCarrick, became the first cardinal in modern times to be dismissed from the priesthood.
McCarrick’s successor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, resigned last fall in the wake of heavy criticism of his handling of sex abuse during his tenure as bishop of Pittsburgh.
Lifesite News, a conservative Catholic news outlet, has called the 71-year-old Gregory a “dissident,” alleging that he “has been implicated in covering-up sex abuse and is known for his support of the LGBT agenda and rejection of orthodoxy.”
The group has launched an online petition directed to Pope Francis in an attempt to stop the nomination.
The petition implores the pope not to appoint a prelate who “flagrantly departs from Catholic moral teaching” and who would propagate rather than curb the homoclericalism that made the crimes of Theodore McCarrick possible.
Archbishop Gregory was president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) from 2001 to 2004 and was instrumental in passing a zero-tolerance policy for disciplining perpetrators of clerical sex abuse.
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