DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     December 6, 1999     vol. 10, no. 231


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

131.   Cardinal Georg Maximilian Sterzinsky

        The current Archbishop of Berlin , Cardinal Georg Maximilian Sterzinsky was made the Bishop of Berlin in 1989 and thus was the presiding prelate when the Berlin Wall was torn down. It has been a rocky life for Cardinal Sterzinsky who was born in Warlack, Germany which is today in Poland. He was born on February 9, 1936 during a time when Adolf Hitler was marshalling his Third Reich and his mother died while he Georg was very young, leaving him in dire straits during the war. After Germany was defeated his family was forced from their home by the communists and they sought refuge in Thuringia. The hardships of war and the aftermath of the horrors of war instilled in him the desire to help others as a priest and he entered the seminary in Erfurt where he received his degrees in Philosophy and Theology, being ordained a diocesan priest on June 29, 1960. His bishop assigned him professorial duties at the seminary teaching Theology in Erfurt until he was transferred six years later to pastoral duties as an associate pastor in Jena, a college town that was largely Catholic. He remained in this post until 1981, working to soothe fractured friendships between Pole and German, between Catholic and Protestant in ecumenical endeavors.

        In 1981 he was promoted to Vicar General to the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Erfurt-Meingen for the next eight years until Pope John Paul II elevated him to the episcopal ranks on May 28, 1989 as the new Bishop of Berlin, being installed on September 9, 1989. Shortly after that the Berlin Wall fell. Two years later the Holy Father included him in the Consistory of June 28, 1991 where he received the red-hat and the titular church of St. Joseph all'Aurelio in Rome and was assigned curial membership in the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People. On June 27, 1994 the See of Berlin, with the added responsibilities of both East and West Berlin, was declared an archdiocese with Cardinal Sterzinsky becoming Archbishop of Berlin. At 63, he remains one of Germany's youngest bishops and has struggled greatly with the conflict of the German Abortion Counseling centers and the counseling certificates that create a catch-22 and which the Holy Father has spoken out strongly against.

December 6, 1999       volume 10, no. 231


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