Pope Francis to Create 13 New Cardinals, Including Washington Archbishop Gregory

Pope Francis pictured at his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square during an Angelus address. Credit: Vatican Media.

Pope Francis said Sunday that he will create 13 new cardinals, including Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory, at a consistory on Nov. 28, the eve of the First Sunday of Advent.

The pope announced his intention to add to the College of Cardinals from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, after leading the Angelus Oct. 25.

Gregory, who was appointed Archbishop of Washington in 2019, will become the first African-American cardinal. 

Other cardinals-designate include Maltese Bishop Mario Grech, who became secretary general of the Synod of Bishops in September, and the Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro, who was named prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints earlier this month. 

Also receiving the red hat is the Italian Capuchin Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, who has served as the Preacher to the Papal Household since 1980. Aged 86, he will not be eligible to vote in a future conclave.

Others appointed to the College of Cardinals include Archbishop Celestino Aós Braco of Santiago, Chile; Archbishop Antoine Kambanda of Kigali, Rwanda; Archbishop Jose Fuerte Advincula of Capiz, in the Philippines; and Bishop Cornelius Sim, Vicar Apostolic of Brunei.

Also elevated to the rank of cardinal are Archbishop Augusto Paolo Lojudice, former Rome auxiliary bishop and current Archbishop of Siena-Colle di Val d’Elsa-Montalcino, Italy; and Fra Mauro Gambetti, Custos of the Sacred Convent of Assisi.

Alongside Cantalamessa, the pope named three others who will receive the red hat but be unable to vote in conclaves: Emeritus Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico; Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, Permanent Observer Emeritus to the United Nations Office and Specialized Agencies in Geneva; and Enrico Feroci, parish priest of Santa Maria del Divino Amore at Castel di Leva, Rome.

Cardinal-designate Gregory hit the headlines in June this year, when he strongly criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the John Paul II Shrine in Washington, D.C., amid clashes between police and protesters.

“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree,” he said.

“St. Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth. He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace,” he added.

Gregory served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2001 to 2004. He was the archbishop of Atlanta from 2005 to 2019.


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