Vatican Reportedly Considering Appointing Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory as Archbishop of Washington

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory could be headed to Washington, according to the Catholic News Agency.

The CNA, citing several unnamed sources, reported that the Vatican could appoint Gregory, 71, archbishop of Washington as early as next week.

The report could not confirmed.

Judy Keane, director of public affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., said “we have not heard of any appointment being made.”

The position was formerly held by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, whose resignation was accepted by Pope Francis last October.

The Archdiocese of Atlanta could not be reached for comment.

The news agency said in its article that potential candidates were going through more stringent than usual vetting because of child sex abuse scandals.

Last year, a Pennsylvania grand jury produced a stunning report that detailed decades of abuse and cover ups of church officials. Some of those priests were under Wuerl’s supervision when he was bishop of Pittsburgh.

For that reason, the report said, Gregory’s appointment could “still be subject to change, even close to the announcement,” if the government of the Catholic Church or Gregory himself was concerned about his ability to address the abuse and misconduct issues that have plagued the Washington archdiocese.

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the highest-ranking Catholic leader to be defrocked by the Vatican in modern times, was once the archbishop of Washington. The once influential Catholic leader resigned in July after being accused of sexual misconduct.

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SOURCE: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Shelia M. Poole