Karl-Josef Rauber

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Karl-Josef Rauber
Apostolic Nuncio
Rauber in 2007
Appointed22 February 2003
Term ended18 June 2009
PredecessorPier Luigi Celata
SuccessorGiacinto Berloco
Other post(s)Cardinal-Deacon of Sant'Antonio di Padova a Circonvallazione Appia (2015–2023)
Ordination28 February 1959
by Albert Stohr
Consecration6 January 1983
by Pope John Paul II
Created cardinal14 February 2015
by Pope Francis
Personal details
Karl-Josef Rauber

(1934-04-11)11 April 1934
Nuremberg, Germany
Died26 March 2023(2023-03-26) (aged 88)
Rottenburg am Neckar, Germany
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post(s)
MottoCaritas Christi urget nos
(The Love of Christ compels us)
Coat of armsKarl-Josef Rauber's coat of arms
Ordination history of
Karl-Josef Rauber
Priestly ordination
Date28 February 1959
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorPope John Paul II
Co-consecratorsEduardo Martinez Somalo
Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy
Date6 January 1983
Elevated byPope Francis
Date14 February 2015
Styles of
Karl Josef Rauber
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

Karl-Josef Rauber (11 April 1934 – 26 March 2023) was a German prelate of the Catholic Church who served as an apostolic nuncio from 1982 until his retirement in 2009. He was created a cardinal by Pope Francis in 2015.


After graduating from St.-Michaels-Gymnasium of Metten Abbey in 1950, Rauber studied Catholic theology and philosophy at the University of Mainz. On 28 February 1959, he was ordained in Mainz Cathedral by Bishop Albert Stohr. He was a chaplain in Nidda and in 1962 earned a doctoral degree in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. At the same time, he attended the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. At the State Secretariat beginning in 1966, Rauber was one of four secretaries of the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, Archbishop Giovanni Benelli. He was primarily responsible for the German-speaking territories.[1] Pope Paul VI awarded him on 22 December 1976 the title of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness.[2] In 1977 he was Nuntiaturrat in Belgium and Luxembourg and 1981 in Greece.[1]

On 18 December 1982, Pope John Paul II appointed him Titular Archbishop of Iubaltiana and pro-nuncio to Uganda. Pope John Paul II also consecrated him as bishop on 6 January 1983. Co-consecrators were the ex officio in the Vatican Secretariat of State, Eduardo Martínez Somalo and the Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy. His motto was "Caritas Christi urget nos" (The love of Christ drives us, also sometimes translated as The love of Christ impels us[3]).

On 22 January 1990, Pope John Paul II appointed Rauber as President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, a post he held until 16 March 1993. In 1991, he was assigned to investigate the problems encountered in the Diocese of Chur by Bishop Wolfgang Haas.[1] He continued to have responsibility for that troubled diocese when he returned to the diplomatic service of the Holy See when he was named Apostolic Nuncio to Switzerland on 16 March 1993[4] and to Liechtenstein on 17 April 1993.[5] Though Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, criticized him for failing to support Haas against his critics, Rauber's solution, moving Haas to Liechtenstein, proved effective and long-lasting.[1][6] His next appointment was on 25 April 1997 as Apostolic Nuncio to Hungary and Moldova.[7] On 22 February 2003, he was named Apostolic Nuncio to Belgium and Luxembourg.[8] When the Church leadership in Rome passed over his recommendation of three candidates for the position of Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and Pope Benedict XVI named André-Joseph Léonard to the position instead, Rauber objected publicly and described Léonard as wholly unsuited for the appointment.[9][10]

Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation for reasons of age in 2009.

On 4 January 2015, Pope Francis announced that he would make him a cardinal on 14 February.[11] At that ceremony, he was created Cardinal-Deacon of the titular church of Sant'Antonio di Padova a Circonvallazione Appia.[12] His appointment was called "surprising", and Bayerischer Rundfunk reported "much speculation that perhaps Francis deliberately wanted to honor a man who did not always have an easy time with the Roman system".[6]

Rauber died in Rottenburg near Tübingen, on 26 March 2023, at the age of 88.[13][6] He had lived there in retirement with the Schoenstatt sisters. He had been in poor health for several years and was weakened by the COVID-19 virus in 2022.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Helmut Krätzl (9 November 2009). "Laudatio für Erzbischof Dr. Karl-Josef Rauber" (PDF). kath.ch. Katholischer Mediendienst. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  2. ^ Annuario Pontificio per l'anno 1982, Città del Vaticano 1982, S. 1936.
  3. ^ "'The love of Christ impels us' | Bishop-elect Rivituso ready to serve Archdiocese of St. Louis".
  4. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). Vol. LXXXV. 1993. p. 395. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  5. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). Vol. LXXXV. 1993. p. 461. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d "Deutscher Kardinal Karl-Josef Rauber mit 88 Jahren verstorben" (in German). Bayerischer Rundfunk. 27 March 2023. Retrieved 28 March 2023.
  7. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). Vol. LXXXIX. 1997. p. 312. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 22.02.2003" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 22 February 2003. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  9. ^ Francesco Strazzari (2010). "La scelta di Léonard – Intervista con l'ex nunzio mons. Karl-Josef Rauber". Il Regno – Actualità (in Italian). pp. 85 ff. Archived from the original on 5 January 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  10. ^ Mickens, Robert (5 January 2015). "Francis chooses new cardinals from the margins". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Annuncio di Concistoro per la creazione di nuovi Cardinali" (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Consistory: list of titular church assignments". Vatican Radio. 14 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  13. ^ "German Cardinal Rauber, long-serving diplomat, passes away". Vatican News. 27 March 2023. Retrieved 28 March 2023.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Uganda
18 December 1982 – 22 January 1990
Succeeded by
Educational offices
Preceded by President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Switzerland and Liechtenstein
16 March 1993 – 25 April 1997
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Hungary
25 April 1997 – 22 February 2003
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Moldova
25 April 1997 – 22 February 2003
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Belgium
22 February 2003 – 18 June 2009
Succeeded by
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Cardinal Deacon of Sant'Antonio di Padova a Circonvallazione Appia
Succeeded by