Thursday, February 23, 2012

Old Church, New World

As new media moments from last weekend's Consistory go, this one's hard to beat: during a lull in Saturday's "courtesy visits" to the new red-hats, the freshly-elevated archbishop of Berlin, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, took to checking a soccer score on his iPhone.

According to a caption on the capital church's Facebook page -- thanks to Georg for the shot -- the Cologne native was keeping an eye on his hometown side's match against Nuremberg.

Its jerseys featuring a silhouette of the city's famous cathedral, FC Köln lost 2-1.

A protege of the Nordrhein's Cardinal Joachim Meisner -- the closest top German cleric to Pope Benedict, and himself a onetime occupant of the Berlin chair -- Woelki was named archbishop of the relatively small Berlin fold in July, just prior to the German pontiff's September state visit to his homeland.

All of 55, with his elevation, the Opus Dei-trained theologian and former seminary rector is now the youngest member of the College of Cardinals, replacing another German -- Joseph Ratzinger's 58 year-old successor in Munich, the motorbiking sociologist Cardinal Reinhard Marx -- as the junior prelate of the papal "Senate." (On a related note, just turned 62, New York's new Cardinal Timothy Dolan is the seventh youngest of the now-214 member "club," and Galveston-Houston's Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, 63 in May, is tenth.)

Der Deutschepapst already having tapped the young clerics to fill half his native turf's four traditional cardinalatial sees, Germany's other two prime ecclesial posts are likewise soon to turn over: head of the Mainz church since 1983, the longtime head of the country's bishops Cardinal Karl Lehmann turns 76 this spring, and Meisner -- who's led one of global Catholicism's wealthiest dioceses since 1989 -- is now 78.