VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has named Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory as the new archbishop of Washington DC, choosing a moderate, and the first African-American, to lead the archdiocese that has become the epicenter of the clergy sex abuse crisis in the U.S.
The 71-year-old Gregory replaces Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who resigned last year after being implicated in covering up abuse by a Pennsylvania grand jury report.
Gregory headed the U.S. bishops conference when it adopted a “zero-tolerance” abuse policy in 2002 to respond to the first wave of the scandal. He has run the Atlanta archdiocese since 2005 and is seen as a pastor very much in line with Francis’ progressive vision of the church.
The Vatican on Thursday announced the appointment, which was first reported by Catholic News Agency.