Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..
1. Archbishop Gregory is the only living African-American archbishop.
2. His appointment was confirmed on the 51st anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination.
3. He was born on Dec. 7, 1947, and is 71 years old.
4. If named a cardinal, he would be the first African-American in history to elect a pope.
5. In 2002, he led the U.S. bishops’ effort to secure a “zero tolerance” policy for priests credibly accused of abusing minors.
6. He has promised to “shed light” on “mistakes” made by his predecessor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl — an apparent reference to the cardinal’s handling of the McCarrick scandal.
7. During his 14-year tenure in Atlanta, the number of Catholics swelled to 1.2 million.
8. Pope Francis inspired his climate change “action plan” in Atlanta.
9. He helped Chicago’s Cardinal Blaise Cupich launch high-level talks on Amoris Laetitia, the papal document that sparked calls for a change to Church discipline on marriage.
10. Father James Martin describes him as “thoughtful, progressive and open-minded,” and noted his LGBT outreach.
11. As USCCB president, he concluded that pro-abortion politicians should only be barred from the Eucharist as “a last resort.”