Archbishop Wilton Gregory, set to become the new head of the Archdiocese of Washington, promised to serve with truth, love and tenderness in a region where he acknowledged “unrest and anger”, after the downfall of former Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the Church’s current sex abuse scandal.
“I want to offer you hope. I will rebuild your trust,” Archbishop Gregory said during an April 4 news conference. “I cannot undo the past, but I sincerely believe that together we will not merely address the moments we’ve fallen short or failed outright, but we will model for all the life and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and we will reclaim the future for our families, for those who will follow us. That is my greatest, indeed, it is my only aspiration.”
Archbishop Gregory was introduced to media gathered for the announcement at the Archdiocese of Washington’s pastoral centre in Hyattsville by Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Pope Francis accepted Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation as Washington’s archbishop in October and named him apostolic administrator.
“It’s difficult to come into a situation where there is unrest and anger,” Archbishop Gregory said. “I’ve known Donald Wuerl for over 40 years. He is a gentleman. He works very hard for the Church. He’s acknowledged that he’s made mistakes. That’s a sign of the integrity of a man. If I can shed light on what I think we need to do in response to some of the mistakes that he’s acknowledged and asked forgiveness for, I’ll do that.”