Karl Josef Becker

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His Eminence
Karl Josef Becker
Cardinal-Deacon of San Giuliano Martire
See San Giuliano Martire
Appointed 18 February 2012
Installed 22 April 2012
Predecessor None
Ordination 31 July 1958
Created Cardinal 18 February 2012
Rank Cardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Birth name Karl Josef Becker
Born (1928-04-18) 18 April 1928 (age 86)
Cologne, Germany
Nationality German
Denomination Roman Catholic
Coat of arms

Karl Josef Becker S.J. (born 18 April 1928 in Cologne) is a German Catholic theologian and consultor for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 15 September 1977. He has taught at Rome's Gregorian University.


Becker entered the Society of Jesus on 13 April after having studied classical philology for three semesters. After the novitiate in Cologne, he studied philosophy at the Jesuit University of Pullach (today University for Philosophy in Münich) from 1950 to 1953. From 1955 to 1959, he studied theology at the University for Philosophy and Theology Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt am Main. His doctoral dissertation in theology was "Die Rechtfertigungslehre nach Domingo de Soto. Das Denken eines Konzilstellnehmers vor, in und nach Trient", which he defended in 1963. It was published in 1967.

According to John L. Allen, Jr., Becker enjoyed the respect and trust of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the prefect of the congregation (and future Pope Benedict XVI). More than one theologian in trouble has been advised to "go see Fr. Becker." It is widely believed, for example, that Becker was involved in the Vatican's investigation of fellow Jesuit Fr. Jacques Dupuis and his work on religious pluralism.

Becker has written about interpretations of subsistit in in Lumen Gentium.[1] In 2009, it was announced that he would participate in the doctrinal discussions between the Society of St. Pius X and the Holy See.

On 6 January 2012, Pope Benedict XVI announced his intention to create Fr. Becker a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church in the course of a Consistory on 18 February 2012.[2]

On 3 February 2012 it was announced that due to ill health Fr Becker would not participate publicly in the consistory of 18 February, but would be created a cardinal in a private ceremony later.[3] On 9 February 2012, domradio.de reported that he would take part in the consistory.[4]

He was created and proclaimed Cardinal-Deacon of San Giuliano Martire on that day. Due to being over 80, however, he is not eligible to vote in a conclave.

Works: Die Rechtfertigungslehre nach Domingo de Soto: Das Denken eines Konzilsteilnehmers vor, in und nach Trient Analecta Gregoriama 156 U. Gregoriana Roma 1967.


  1. ^ "An Examination of Subsistit in: A Profound Theological Perspective". Ewtn.com. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  2. ^ Annuncio di Concistorio per la creazione di nuovi Cardinali
  3. ^ "Pater Karl Josef Becker SJ nimmt nicht am Konsistorium teil". Aktuelles. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Jesuit Becker nimmt doch an Kardinalserhebung teil". Retrieved 10 February 2012.