Pope Francis has appointed 13 new cardinals, including the first African American to hold the position.
Wilton Gregory was imitated at a ceremony in the Vatican, where participants wore face masks and some appeared via a video link.
The 72-year-old Archbishop of Washington, DC, was announced as one of the new cardinals, last month.
The Cardinals in Red are the largest clergy in the Catholic Church, after the Pope himself.
Their role includes the election of the Pope, the head of the Church, who is chosen from among them in a secret meeting, known as the Closed Council.
Given that four of the newly appointed cardinals are over the age of 80, they will not be permitted to vote in the closed council in the future under church rules.
The nine new cardinals who would be eligible to vote – other than Gregory – are from Italy, Malta, Rwanda, the Philippines, Chile, Brunei and Mexico.
The ceremony, known as the Church Council, was cut short due to the Coronavirus. All of those present wore face masks except for Pope Francis, and every new cardinal removed his face covering when he bowed before the Pope to be appointed.
The Argentine Pope, who has led the church since 2013, has appointed more than half of the 128 elector Cardinals.
Who is Wilton Gregory?
A priest for 25 years, became Archbishop of Washington in May 2019. He replaced Cardinal Donald Worrell, who had resigned amid criticism of his handling of domestic violence cases.
In the United States, Cardinal Gregory has been a prominent voice in efforts to root out abuse within the church. As president of the American Bishops’ Conference, he persuaded church leaders to adopt tougher penalties for aggressors in 2002.
Cardinal Gregory criticized President Donald Trump for his rhetorical employment and his visits to religious sites.
He denounced President Trump’s visit to the tomb of St. John Paul II in Washington, describing it as “bewildering and reprehensible.”
The visit came in June, a day after the president ordered the dispersal of peaceful protesters near the White House.
The archbishop said that St. John Paul II “certainly will not condone the use of tear gas and other means of deterrence to silence, disperse or intimidate (the protesters) to capture an opportunity to take pictures in front of a place of worship and peace.”
He was criticized by some conservative Catholics for his remarks.
elseAndN appointed by Pope Francis
Among the 13 are Italian priest Raniero Cantalamisa, 84, who served as a preacher to three papal families.
Another Italian name, Marcello Cimmarro, is a 72-year-old bishop who oversees the church’s canonization of saints.
A key position is also to be awarded to the Maltese, Mario Gresh, President of the Synod of Bishops, an influential advisory body to the Pope.
Among the others, Antoine Campanda, Archbishop of Kigali in Rwanda; Jose Fuerte Advincula, Archbishop of Capiz of the Philippines; Celestino Aaus Bracco, Archbishop of Santiago, Chile.