Press Conference | Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory appointed Archbishop of Washington



good morning everyone I'm so happy to be joined here this morning by so many of you to the members of the media I know that most I've worked with most of you over the years for those who do not know me I am Chico Noguchi I'm the director of media relations for the Archdiocese of Washington earlier today the Vatican announced that we have a new archbishop here in the Archdiocese of Washington at this time I would like to invite Cardinal Donald Wuerl our apostolic administrator who served as the sixth Archbishop of Washington from 2006 until last October to come up and give some remarks about this morning's big announcement from Rome your eminence thank you Jake oh and I also want to welcome all of you to this press conference this morning thank you for being here it's with great joy that I joined the Archdiocese of Washington in receiving the news the very welcome news that our Holy Father Pope Francis has favoured this local church with the appointment of Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta as the seventh Archbishop of Washington and I join everyone who appreciates his pastoral abilities his intellectual gifts and his leadership qualities I I've known Archbishop Wilton Gregory for many years and I've had the privilege of working with him in a variety of different initiatives and programs and I've come to recognize as I'm sure all of you will very very shortly how generously he shares his talents and his love for the church as the Archdiocese of Washington as the Church of Washington now opens this new chapter and moves into the future we we can all with great confidence and enthusiasm welcome our new Shepherd and so it is a great pleasure for me to say to all of you allow me now to welcome Archbishop Wilton Gregory seventh Archbishop of Washington good morning today I humbly begin a new chapter in my life and in my pastoral ministry as I accept the appointment of Pope Francis to become the seventh Archbishop of Washington I do so with great gratitude to the Holy Father who has asked me to serve this local church with the utmost integrity with the joy of knowing and following the risen Christ and with deep affection and devotion to our people as well as to the District of Columbia and the five counties that comprise the Archdiocese I thanked Cardinal world and the auxilary bishops from the heart for your gracious and warm welcome I also welcome you the members of the media and I thank you for your presence this morning this is obviously a moment fraught with challenges throughout our entire Catholic Church certainly but nowhere more so than in this local faith community and as in any family challenges can only be overcome by a firmly Arctic articulated resolve and commitment to do better to know Christ better to love Christ better to serve Christ better I would be naive not to acknowledge the unique tasks task that awaits us yet I know as I have always known that I can and will rely upon the grace of God and on the goodness of the people of this local church to help me fulfill those new responsibilities I want to come to know you to hear your stories to listen to the emotions experiences and expectations that have shaped your precious Catholic faith for better or for worse I want to offer you hope I will rebuild your trust I cannot undo the past but I sincerely believe that together we will not merely address the moments where we've fallen short or failed outright but we will model for all 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 there is as there always has been a proud heritage of deep faith and goodness within the Archdiocese of Washington I come to you humbly knowing all too well and conceding my own shortcomings and limitations but I am bolstered by the knowledge that we are the Lord's and that together in the Lord we can move forward neither forgetting the past nor being constrained by it the Archdiocese of Washington is home to the poor and the powerful neither of which really realizes they are both you embrace a wide host of races cultures and languages you are young and I seek to be a pastor for this entire family Pope Francis has wisely cautioned us not to neglect the spiritual dimensions of any proposed resolutions to the problems that we face technical and structural responses are crucial and they are necessary but they alone will never heal the hearts of our people which are so in need of the healing that only God can provide as the Lord Jesus himself told his disciples this kind can only come out through prayer let us begin an earnest prayer life together today so that in concert with those necessary technical and structural actions the healing may commence please permit me to speak a word of encouragement to the religious the lay ministers and the clergy of the Archdiocese I want to assure them of my support my affection and my deep yearning to work closely with them to continue their excellent service to the people of this archdiocese you have prepared us to face the future with hope and with confidence and when my service to you is ended I trust you will know that I came to serve you with love truth and tenderness in the name of the Lord Jesus may Our Lady untier of knots guide and sustain us now and forever I welcome your questions I know that we have several questions or several reporters who have asked to ask questions I know that Richard chepa now ski from Carroll media wanted to ask thank you Richard you come to us from Atlanta a city closely associated with dr. Martin Luther King you would stop there only as federal holiday you've preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church today is the anniversary of his assassination what if you could speak a bit about what is like the legacy you Richard I was 20 years old on April 4th 1968 when dr. King was assassinated it was a turning point in my life to have seen this extraordinary American this preacher of the gospel this great humanitarian cut down in his youth and and what that loss meant to our nation and indeed what it meant to the world it's it was a turning point that that allows me to to see a modern-day martyr for the cause of justice and peace unity and to see the impact that both his life and his death have had on people certainly Atlanta was a community that was deeply is deeply proud that he's their son and they gladly and with great enthusiasm share him with the rest of the world I think we had a question also from Tom over the National Catholic Reporter you talked to the church clock I'm wondering increasingly what some call this liturgy culture others call the hierarchical culture they're saying those cultures are sign event is at the problem of cover-up I wonder if you agree with that and if so many thoughts about how the culture begins to change then you perform that resign after Cardinal Cody appointed me to go to Rome to pursue doctoral studies and liturgy I was preparing to make that transition for my first assignment to doctoral studies I ran into a wonderful Chicago priest now deceased Leo man Leo had worked for many years in Panama he he headed up the the the the sharing that went on between Panama and Chicago and I knew him and I always admired him I've met him on Wabash Avenue as I was coming out of a store where it just purchased a trunk and Leo said Wilton as you go to Rome I want you to know there are three temptations that you will face you will face the temptation for self-aggrandizement temptation for pleasure and the temptation for power and he said the most damaging and seductive temptation is that for power and I think so much of what we are facing now was a misuse of power and abuse of power clerical power power that was intended in in too many cases to dominate and destroy lives so that is from my humble opinion the Holy Father has talked about clericalism I think the flipside is power privilege and how do we undo it I met with a parish council in one of the parishes in Atlanta and I said I recognize that I can only address clericalism in my own life when I begin to recognize when it raises its ugly head when I Drive into a parish for an event ceremony dinner meeting and they don't have a reserved part for me I'm part of the problem because I'm presuming that simply because I'm the archbishop I don't have to face the challenges of finding a parking space like everybody else and the parish that came there now usually they do but clericalism is the presumption that that belongs to me first of all I believe that the only way I can serve this local archdiocese is by telling you the truth and sometimes telling you the truth has to acknowledge I don't know transparency includes sharing what you do know but it also acknowledges that that's not something that I am sure of alright I simply don't know I will always tell you the truth as I understand it when I was president of the conference during those extraordinary years of 2001 to 2004 I had the great privilege of meeting with now st. Pope John Paul and I could speak candidly with him and I can remember on one occasion telling him what I had discovered about the sexual misconduct of young people he looked at me says are you sure I said Holy Father I am sure and there is and there is more so I walked away from my time as president knowing this one thing that I told them the truth as best that I as I knew it and that's what I will do for the Archdiocese of Washington and what I hope I've done in the Archdiocese of Atlanta one of the ways tablets have been expressing their anger or disappointment their sadness is by your building contributions for example the wealthiest one of the wealthiest urchins in the search guys is $20,000 decrease a month in the collection plate what are you going to do about that what does that mean that people are not turning in I'm not doing as much money to the church well first of all I think unfortunately we don't provide enough vehicles for our lady to have a voice in the church except through their wallets I hope to make sure that there are other vehicles other consultative bodies other opportunities for people to to tell me and to tell the other leadership what's on their minds or in their hearts obviously the the contributions that Catholics make and and are very generous I presume the Archdiocese of Washington is very much like the Archdiocese of Atlanta and you have just extraordinarily generous people the funds that are given to the church are given for the works of ministry they are given for the care of the poor they are given for education they are given to allow the church to worship and pray together I've seen the same signs that that you've talked about don't give any money to the bishops I want to assure you the bishop doesn't get the dollar what happens is the dollar comes into the basket comes into the diocese and the bishop allocates it to the places where it is most needed and and where people have intended it to go I will always respect the intent of the donor that's part of my fiduciary responsibilities to use the funds that are given for the purposes for which they are given well first of all I hope there aren't that many I make that hope not because I don't want people to have justice but I hope that we have we respond in such a way that we don't have to get 2 additional litigious encounters but whenever we do have to use church funds we should be honest and where did they come from are they are they stocks that were being sold as a clan that's being sold and we should acknowledge the land was given for this school or given for this parish again that's part of the transparency you know what do we have how do we use it and how do we respect the intent of the donors ok Archbishop good morning I'm Erika themselves with NBC Washington for the Catholic faithful who are looking to you to reinvigorate New Hope in this community could you boil down maybe one or two things that you'll begin your ministry with and could you also elaborate on what type of relationship you'd like to have with Washington politics well first of all I have to tell my colleagues that are here from the Catholic center for the foreseeable future I'm not going to spend much time in the office you do according to Cardinal Wuerl and I have every reason to believe him that you do a wonderful job the the the train is running very very smoothly and the train can continue to run because I have to be in the parishes I have to meet with my priests why because I can't feed their Archbishop if I don't give them an opportunity to tell me what's on their heart and to come to know me and to establish a bond Pope Francis talks about and he uses the word off an encounter that's what I hope to do I hope to encounter the people in the archdiocese and that's gonna mean that for the early part of my time I have to be in the field now I've been a bishop 35 years the time in the field is the best time that has nothing to do with the Chancery evade they are part of the flock too but I think they understand that the best time in my life and I think in most bishops life is the time they spend with their people even when they spend time that is a little testy and you know things are I've spoken that are challenging but it's when we are in the midst of our people praying with them listening with them dining with them that we get to know them and they get to know us well I see this appointment as an appointment to be the pastor of the Archdiocese of Washington I was not elected to Congress and so I intend to speak and promote the church's moral and doctrinal teaching that that comes with the job but I think that my involvement with the political engines that that run here has to be reflected through that prism I'm here as pastor the pastor must speak about those things that are rooted in the gospel but I'm not going to be at any negotiating tables that's not my place my place is on the pews with my people very good Michelle do you feel that that is an obligation for you to directly call out to States by your predecessors or is that a violation of your culture it's difficult to come into a situation where there is unrest and and anger I don't Donald Wuerl for over 40 years I know 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 the 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 part a clericalism is circling the wagons so that you know the the Episcopacy won't call one another two tasks I think this moment has shown the folly of that approach to Episcopal governance and Episcopal collegiality you mentioned anger there have been a lot of heartbreaking headlines and some people have turned away from the church as you know what's sort of your message to those people they've turned away how do you gain their trust back well we've certainly given our faithful lots of reasons to leave the church I want to provide a few reasons to stay I want to assure the people that I will be honest with them that I will govern with sensitivity that I will be a be approachable available I'm an ordinary human being and I have to acknowledge those things that I simply can't handle perfectly or even at all but I always have to tell you the truth and that's been a theme you know that I have to tell you the truth and I will I want to ask you a personal question in the Apollo what inspired you to become Catholic when you were don't student at st. Carthage school and you just mentioned about you want to encourage people to keep the faith what why have you kept the faith and how would you encourage Catholics here to keep the pace they've been through a tough year I entered the st. Carthage in 1958 in the fall of 1958 my parents were increasingly concerned about the quality of education that was available in the Chicago Public Schools and at that time the neighborhood in which we're living was going through a rapid racial change and so the school at st. Carthage was losing white students and fortunately the sisters the Adrian Dominicans I'm an Adrian Dominican product I'm proud to be an Adrian Dominican product they along with the pastor Monsignor John Hayes and the associate father Gerry Weber decided that they would welcome the african-american kids in the neighborhood who wanted to come to the school so in 58 and September of 58 I entered Catholic school it was an extraordinary time in a very important time in an oppression in the life of a fresh herbal young man Pope Pius the 12th died six weeks after I entered Catholic school it's not a cause effect but obviously that focused the world on the transition of the papacy of the Our Lady of the Angels tragic fire occurred on December 1st of that year and the priests and the sisters of that school were so compassionate so gentle so outreaching and you know within six weeks of being in a Catholic school not from a Catholic background I said I'm gonna be a priest and john hayes john hayes that pastor held the desk at the US conference that george higgins eventually succeeded to so he he was involved with catholic social action and and he get he began to give me private instructions on Tuesday and my family my parents were wise enough to know that a kid on Monday is firemen on Tuesdays a baseball player and you know so that they didn't get bent out of shape but I've stayed because of the images in the witness of those men and women that I first met and when when the scandal hit and I was then president of the conference I stayed because men like gerry weber and john hayes should not have to die in shame and i was going to do everything that I could to make sure that they their reputations were protected honored and respected so thank you I wanted to also very briefly announce a brief housekeeping item which is actually kind of a big deal the the date for the installation is actually Tuesday May 21st there was a different date that was floating around which was accurate but there has been a change in schedule so I wanted to make sure that that we had the correct date out there thank you very much everyone

Michael Martin

5 Responses

  1. #🌏💡🇺🇸🇬🇧👑👍: Subtending,”#7th.ArchbishopOfWashingtonDC# Appointed By #HisHolyFatherPopeFrancis!💕👶🙅‍♂️💝🎁👏🙏WithAboveEternalThanksgivingsForProgressiveGlobalPeacefulHappyGiftsForUsBelievers!#ThankYOUGODForReveredTransitionalEcumenicalEucharistsWithInfectiousPrayers!#HolyMaryMotherOfJesusPleaseHearOurPrayers👶🙅‍♂️💝🙏:#InHolyContemplationItIsTheLordWhoDeliverethHisHealingsOnTheWingsOfHisAbovePatronSaintsCallingsWithoutRacialOrEthnicityDivides! RESPECTS&THANKSGIVINGS!#ImagineSistersAndMoreEnshrinedOnGlobalInternationalCommunityStage💕👶🙅‍♂️💝🎉💃👏🙏:{.#JesusOnTheCross!A Compounding 🌏💡#PapacyReflectionsAtTheTreatyOfRome;#ReveredHolyFatherPopeFrancisGlobalProclamationsAt7ActsOfMercy🎉👏🙏:#[email protected]sionaryCleanlinessOfSoulsForGlobalGoods!#GODLovesUs👶🙅‍♂️💝💕🎉👏🙏:#NoOneCanAndDoesDeceiveGODAlmighty!#LeaveNoOneBehind!#AncestralWisdomAtTheFEARSOFGODISTHEBEGINNINGOFWISDOM!#LetItBe💕🙏:#JesusOnTheCross!#HappyEasterTidings! RESPECTS&THANKSGIVINGS!{.

  2. I remember him speaking at the Seminary in Chicago back in the early 1990's. He was impressive, very intellectual, and humble then, I can only begin to image what these last 30 years have of accumulated wisdom he has since gained and now brings to the Church in Washington D.C.,,,,, Fr. Sergio

  3. I'll miss Archbishop Gregory in Atlanta. He is a humble man of God and will do well wherever he goes. God bless the Catholic Church.

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