It is remarkable how the world cares about who gets appointed to key posts in the Catholic Church. Immediately the tea leaves are examined and determinations are made about whether he is on the left or right. This is certainly the case for the man just elevated to one of the most prestigious ecclesiastical posts in the Catholic Church, Archbishop of Cologne, Germany.
At first the left hated Bishop Rainer Maria Woelki because he said homosexuality was “against the order of creation.” When he was elevated to Archbishop of Berlin in 2011, the LGBT community was up arms. They called him “homophobic and too conservative” for Berlin. That he took his doctorate from the Opus Dei university in Rome did not help.
Woelki made nice, however, going so far as to announce to a conference of German bishops that long-term same-sex relationships were little different from heterosexual ones. This made international news in the summer of 2012. The sexual left in the Catholic Church popped champagne bottles that such a high Churchman, who by that time had become the youngest Cardinal in the Church, had become so gay-friendly.
Their enthusiasm did not abate when his press office insisted that such relationships still did not compare to man-woman marriage. An anti-homophobia group in Berlin offered him their annual Respect award, which he declined, saying you should not get an award for welcoming all people.
Now the young Cardinal has been elevated to be Archbishop of Cologne and the left is fine with it. They say he is in the mold of Pope Francie, all mercy and no judgment. A German newspaper said Woelki is “the prototype of a new generation of bishops… not grumpy and dogmatic… these men speak of mercy and mean it. They’re open to people, even their critics, to a point and have a heart for the disadvantaged. Still, they’re theologically conservative.”