VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Angelo Scola was named this morning as the new head of the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy’s largest diocese.
The 69-year-old cardinal, a native of Milan, has been patriarch of Venice since 2002, where he made a reputation as a very active pastor and developed a type of Catholic think-tank on Middle Eastern issues.
During the last conclave, Cardinal Scola’s name was on the short list of papabili. Today’s appointment will no doubt keep him in the mix when that topic comes up again.
In 2004, I visited Venice several times to do an in-depth profile on Cardinal Scola. I found him to be as energetic as advertised on a pastoral level, and certainly one of Italy’s more intellectual church leaders. In Milan, an archdiocese of nearly 5 million Catholics, he’ll face a whole new set of challenges.