Friedrich Wetter

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His Eminence
Friedrich Wetter
Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Munich and Freising
Kardinal Wetter 2008.jpg
Church Roman Catholic
See Munich and Freising (emeritus)
Appointed 28 October 1982
Installed 12 December 1982
Term ended 02 February 2007
Predecessor Joseph Ratzinger
Successor Reinhard Marx
Other posts Cardinal Priest Of S. Stephani in Coelio Monte
Ordination 10 October 1953
by Clemente Micara
Consecration 29 June 1968
by Isidor Markus Emanuel
Created Cardinal 25 May 1985
by John Paul II
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Born (1928-02-20) 20 February 1928 (age 89)
Landau (Rhineland-Palatinate), Germany
Nationality German
Motto Pax Vobis (Peace to you)
Coat of arms
Styles of
Friedrich Wetter
Coat of arms of Friedrich Wetter.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Munich and Freising (emeritus)

Friedrich Wetter (born 20 February 1928) is a German cardinal of the Catholic Church, the Archbishop Emeritus of Munich and Freising, Germany. His resignation as Metropolitan Archbishop of Munich and Freising was accepted on 2 February 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI, who was Cardinal Wetter's immediate predecessor in that post before going on to become Pope John Paul II's Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and then Pope.

At age 86, Cardinal Wetter is the oldest living cardinal from Germany.

Early life and ordination[edit]

Born in Landau (Rhineland-Palatinate), Wetter studied in Landau and then, from 1948 to 1956, at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology and in the Gregorian University in Rome, where he obtained a doctorate in theology. In 1953, he was ordained a priest in Rome.

After being chaplain for two years (1956–1958) in Speyer, teaching in the seminary in the same city for another two years (1958–1960), and being assistant parish priest for a year in Glanmünchweiler, he became Professor of Fundamental Theology in Eichstätt for five years (1962–1967) and Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in 1967, a post he held for only one year before being appointed bishop.[1]


He was Bishop of Speyer (1968–1982) and became Archbishop of Munich and Freising in 1982.

Cardinal Wetter,
portrait by Günter Rittner 1998


He was made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1985, with the title of Cardinal-Priest of Santo Stefano Rotondo.[2] He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.

On 2 February 2007 Pope Benedict accepted his resignation, offered in accordance as with canon 354 of the Code of Canon Law (on the grounds of age). On 30 November 2007, Reinhard Marx, then Bishop of Trier, was named as Wetter's successor.


Rights of Catholic politicians[edit]

Cardinal Wetter criticized in 2004 the Italian government's withdrawal of its nomination of Rocco Buttiglione to the European Commission.

Liturgical abuses[edit]

Cardinal Friedrich Wetter also said in an open letter in 2004 that anonymous informers intent on reporting liturgical abuses would labour in vain in the Archdiocese of Munich. "Blackening people's names, especially when the talebearer wishes to stay anonymous, will not get anyone anywhere in our archdiocese," Cardinal Wetter warned. His comments followed the promulgation of the Vatican instruction on abuses in the liturgy, Redemptionis Sacramentum.

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Isidor Markus Emanuel
Bishop of Speyer
Succeeded by
Anton Schlembach
Preceded by
Joseph Ratzinger
Archbishop of Munich and Freising
Succeeded by
Reinhard Marx