When the Rev. Raphael Warnock arrives in the nation’s capital to take his Senate seat, he is likely to be welcomed by a collaborator from his home state of Georgia in the person of the city’s Catholic archbishop, Cardinal Wilton Gregory.
In 2015, when Gregory, then archbishop of Atlanta, released a sweeping action plan to implement Pope Francis’ groundbreaking environmental encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” he received the strong backing of Warnock.
In fact, the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Warnock is senior pastor, went on to adopt parts of the archdiocese’s plan for its own congregation….
Now, after a victory in a special election Jan. 5 where Warnock defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler, he heads to Washington where he will be a closely watched player in the 117th Congress and likely a critical partner of the Biden administration, which has been vocal about the open relationship it intends to have with people of faith.
In D.C., Warnock’s old neighbor, Gregory, will likely walk a fine line in his relationship with the incoming administration. Some of his brother bishops prefer a stiff posture when it comes to dealing with the nation’s second Catholic president.
Gregory, however, has chosen a different approach.
“I want to begin a relationship with him that allows us to have a serious conversation, knowing full well that there are issues that he and I will be diametrically opposed to, but hopefully also being able to capitalize on issues that we can advance together,” Gregory told Religion News Service in December. “I don’t want to go to the table with a gun on the table first.”
While Warnock will undoubtedly face pressure from Catholics for his pro-choice stance on abortion, past precedent shows Gregory is likely to take the same approach as with Biden to dealing with Warnock in finding practical ways to collaborate….
The above comes from a Jan. 6 story in the National Catholic Reporter.