In this question I asked about an aspect of a passage from a novel, quoted below.
A young man, perhaps about 18 years old, has approached a bureaucratic organization with a request that is important to him. He is directed to one of the organization's lawyers, who, after hearing his request and looking into the situation, addresses the young man as follows:
Sie haben Glück, mein Sohn. Seine Magnifizenz der Hochsekretär geruhen, Ihnen ein Paar Minuten seiner kostbaren Zeit zu widmen.
Here I will ask about a different aspect – a contrast between usages in English and German.
In English, a man with decades of experience of adult life speaking informally to a man who may be about 20 years old may address him a "son", thus a captain of a ship speaking to a low-ranking inexperienced subordinate says:
Always let a head of department do things his own way if possible. Remember that when you are a skipper, son.
In situations like this I might expect to see "mein Junge" in German.
But there may also be situations when speaking more formally – and here the only example that comes to mind is a clergyman addressing a congregant in a somewhat ritualistic context – a man may address another man as "my son".
So my question is: Given that the two persons in the first quoted passage above are strangers to each other (but also that the man who speaks is probably a couple of decades or more older than the addressee) with what degree of formality is the phrase "mein Sohn" used? The quasi-royal trappings of the phrasing of the next sentence make it seem possibly fairly formal, but the answer would appear to depend on conventions not in evidence in the quoted passage alone.