January 17, 2005

Bishop Gregory to be installed in Atlanta

Boston Globe

January 17, 2005

ATLANTA -- Roman Catholic Bishop Wilton D. Gregory faced a daunting challenge at the height of the clergy sex abuse crisis, guiding the faithful through what many believed was the worst tragedy ever to befall the church in America.

Gregory served as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during the scandal, and led the bishops through a policy on how to respond to allegations that includes barring offenders from church work and a national lay watchdog panel to help enforce the plan.

On Monday, the 57-year-old Chicago native was expected to be installed as Atlanta's sixth archbishop. Gregory, who was appointed by Pope John Paul II last month, succeeds Archbishop John F. Donoghue, who is retiring.

As the nation honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., analysts say that appointing a black bishop to a city like Atlanta will help draw attention to Catholic diversity.

Gregory was the first black president of the bishops conference when he was elected in November 2001 and served three years. At the time, his election was seen by black Catholics as long-awaited recognition of their presence in the church.

The clergy sex abuse scandal quickly eclipsed his historic elevation. Gregory, however, said he was grateful for the chance to serve at such a critical moment.

Posted by kshaw at January 17, 2005 07:15 AM