Karl Lehmann

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His Eminence
Karl Lehmann
Cardinal, Bishop emeritus of Mainz
Verleihung des Europäischen Handwerkspreises an Karl Kardinal Lehmann-2159.jpg
Cardinal Lehmann, 2014
Church Mainz Cathedral
Province Freiburg im Breisgau
Diocese Mainz
Appointed 21 June 1983
Installed 2 October 1983
Term ended 16 May 2016
Predecessor Hermann Volk
Successor Peter Kohlgraf
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of S. Leone I
Ordination 10 October 1963
by Julius August Döpfner
Consecration 2 October 1983
by Hermann Volk
Created Cardinal 21 February 2001
Rank Cardinal Priest
Personal details
Born (1936-05-16) 16 May 1936 (age 81)
Sigmaringen, Germany
Nationality German
Denomination Roman Catholic
Motto State in fide (English: "Stand firmly in the faith") - 1 Corinthians 16:13
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}

Karl Lehmann (born 16 May 1936) is a Cardinal prelate of the Catholic Church. He is Bishop emeritus of Mainz, former Chairman of the Conference of the German Bishops (German: Deutsche Bischofskonferenz), the highest representative post of the Catholic Church in Germany,[1] and Professor emeritus of theology at the University of Mainz and the University of Freiburg.

From 1971, he was the co-editor of the international journal Communio. He was a member of the board of the Synod of the Dioceses of the Federal Republic of Germany 1971-1975, as well as a member of the International Theological Commission 1974-1984.

Appointed Prelate of honour of His Holiness on 26 March 1979.


He was educated at the Seminary of Freiburg 1957-1964[1] and then studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he earned a doctorate in philosophy,[1] summa cum laude in 1962, with a thesis titled "Vom Ursprung und Sinn der Seinsfrage im Denken Martin Heideggers". He also received a doctorate in theology, summa cum laude, in 1967, with a thesis titled "'Auferweckt am dritten Tag nach der Schrift' — Exegetische und fundamentaltheologische Studien zu 1 Kor 15,3b-5".

He was ordained to the priesthood on 10 October 1963 in Rome by Cardinal Julius Döpfner. He served as an assistant to Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J., at the Institute of Christian Thought and Religious Philosophy in Munich 1964-1967 and 1967-1968.[1] Instructor of dogmatics and history of dogma at the University of Munich in 1967. Obtained the Habilitationsstipendium of the German Research Council (DFG) in 1968. Professor of dogmatic theology, University of Mainz, 1968-1971;[1] of dogmatic and ecumenical theology, University of Freiburg, 1971-1983. Member of the Ecumenical Working Group of Evangelical and Catholic Theologians in 1969; scientific leader, 1976; and chairman, 1988.

Declined professorships at University of Munich in 1971 and at University of Tübingen in 1981.

From 1971, co-editor of the international journal Communio. Member of the board of the Synod of the Dioceses of the Federal Republic of Germany, 1971-1975. Member of the International Theological Commission, 1974-1984.

Prelate of honour of His Holiness, 26 March 1979.


He was raised to the rank of Cardinal by Pope John Paul II at the consistory of 21 February 2001.[2] He was one of the electors who participated in the papal conclaves of 2005 and 2013 that selected Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

Pope Francis accepted his resignation as Bishop of Mainz on 16 May 2016, his 80th birthday.[3]

Coat of arms[edit]

Coat of arms of Karl Lehmann.svg

Cardinal Lehmann's episcopal coat of arms incorporates elements such as the wheel from the arms of the Diocese of Mainz, the key from the Diocese of Worms, and an open book with the letters Alpha and Omega, a symbol of the message of Jesus Christ, as well as for the Cardinal's personal enthusiasm for literature.[4]

His Latin motto, State in fide (English: "Stand firmly in the faith") is derived from 1 Corinthians 16:13.




  1. ^ a b c d e Holy See press office college of Cardinals, biographical notes
  2. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (22 February 2001). "Shaping a Legacy, Pope Installs 44 Cardinals". New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Other Pontifical Acts". Holy See Press Office. 16 May 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "Lebenslauf von Karl Kardinal Lehmann" (in German). Diocese of Mainz. Retrieved 16 January 2008. 

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Joseph Höffner
Chairman of the Conference of the German Bishops
Succeeded by
Robert Zollitsch
Preceded by
Hermann Volk
Bishop of Mainz
Succeeded by
Peter Kohlgraf