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Opinion: Cardinal Gregory's WaPo op-ed brings tidings of great confusion

+Gregory has chosen to dig heels, defending his archdiocese's lawsuit in a blisteringly unfortunate op-ed, capping off an already tumultuous Advent season.

Just days after the Washington Post owner's ex-wife showed her mettle by giving billions in donations to at-risk communities, the journalistic arm of Jeff Bezos has seemingly joined him in advocating for the reception of money despite COVID risks (though in not so many words).

Cardinal Wilton Gregory, no stranger to controversy and apparently eager for it upon his re-entry to the United States, has this evening penned an op-ed not unlike that of Tom Cotton or "Dr. Biden" fame, joining the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to complete a MSM trifecta of right-leaning op-eds meant to obtain "balance"—and clicks.

Gregory, innocently enough, spent most of his piece praising the Catholic community of Washington, DC, noting—like his archdiocesan lawsuit—that they have dutifully followed all prescriptions meant to stop the spread of COVID-19.

In an interview with another mainstream outlet a week ago, he even went so far as to claim that no one in his diocese had knowingly contracted the virus from attending church—despite at least three priests having indeed been infected (including the first known infection in all of DC), with the latest causing unknown spread as recently as last week.

What, then, could motivate the first African-American cardinal to so boldly proclaim the need to worship in large numbers during a well-predicted COVID spike? What exactly is the motivation to encourage in-person fellowship just as health experts recommend staying home with ever more vigilance?

Simply put (though not put by the cardinal at all), it's that time of year.

The season of black, red, and green. Of tax deductions, fundraising drives, and the biggest church crowds the offering plates will see until Jesus gets up out of the grave come Spring.

Even so, money was not mentioned in Gregory's national plea for understanding. Just (in-person) worship. What could be more important?

Indeed, instead of advocating that the (Catholic) mayor of DC decrease access to public activities during such a precarious moment in healthcare history, the DC archdiocese—like several others—is using lax shopping and exercise restrictions to litigate their own unmitigated freedom to associate.

"Do unto others as they do unto you," remember?

Or does the Word speak otherwise?

"Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues? But instead, one believer sues another—right in front of unbelievers! ...Why not just accept the injustice and leave it at that? Why not let yourselves be cheated? Instead, you yourselves are the ones who do wrong and cheat even your fellow believers."
(1 Corinthians 6)

It is hard to read these words and still find cause to praise the first Black American cardinal for his opening actions as a prince of the Church.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder of Black Catholic Messenger, a priesthood applicant with the Josephites, and a ThM student w/ the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).

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