This is big: +Woelki to Cologne

by Michael Sean Winters

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Pope Francis has translated Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki from Berlin to Cologne. The latter archdiocese is one of the most important assignments in Germany in part because of the enormous financial resources of the archdiocese of Cologne, which have underwritten, along with US contributions, much of the Church's work in poorer countries. I do not know +Woelki but it is interesting to me that he is, by hierarchic standards, so young, a mere 58. This is an almost twenty year bet. Pope Francis has shown a willingness to appoint older men to key posts - Cardinal Stella, appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy last year, is already 73. Now, it is clear, if he discerns someone is right for the post, age will not disqualify if that person is perceived as either too young or too old. Also clear that in Berlin, +Woelki immediately took steps to reach out to that city's large gay community with an attitude of respect after some initial concerns were raised about previous comments he had made. I do not know how to say "smell of the sheep" in German, but let's hope he has it.  

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