Walter Brandmüller

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Walter Brandmüller
Cardinal-Priest 'pro hac vice' of San Giuliano dei Fiamminghi
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed20 November 2010 (as Cardinal-Deacon)
3 May 2021 (as Cardinal-Priest)
Installed6 March 2011
PredecessorJan Pieter Schotte
Ordination26 July 1953
by Joseph Otto Kolb
Consecration13 November 2010
by Raffaele Farina
Created cardinal20 November 2010
by Pope Benedict XVI
RankCardinal-Deacon (2010-21)
Cardinal-Priest (2021-)
Personal details
Walter Brandmüller

(1929-01-05) 5 January 1929 (age 93)
DenominationCatholic (Roman Rite)
Previous post(s)President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences (1998-2009)
Titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Mauretania (2010)
Alma materLudwig Maximilian University of Munich
MottoIgnem in Terram
("(To cast) fire upon the Earth")
Coat of armsWalter Brandmüller's coat of arms
Styles of
Walter Brandmüller
Coat of arms of Walter Brandmuller.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

Walter Brandmüller (born 5 January 1929) is a German prelate of the Catholic Church, a cardinal since 2010. He was president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences from 1998 to 2009.

Early life[edit]

Brandmüller was born in 1929 in Ansbach, Germany. His father was Roman Catholic and his mother was Protestant. Brandmüller was baptized as a Protestant and converted to Roman Catholicism from Lutheranism[1] in his adolescence.[2][3] He studied at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich in 1963, he earned a doctorate in history (doctoral thesis: "Das Wiedererstehen katholischer Gemeinden in den Fürstentümern Ansbach und Bayreuth", 'The reestablishment of Catholic parishes in the princedoms of Ansbach and Bayreuth'); and he obtained the "habilitation" in 1967 with the dissertation "Das Konzil von Pavia-Siena (1423–1424)" ('The council of Pavia-Siena').

Priest and academic[edit]

On 26 July 1953, he was ordained a priest in Bamberg by Joseph Otto Kolb, Archbishop of Bamberg. He did pastoral work in the church of Saint John, Kronach, 1953–1957, and in that of Saint Martin, Bamberg, 1957–1960. Thereafter he did further studies in Munich. He served as Professor of Church History and Patrology at the University of Dillingen from 30 October 1969 until 1971. From 7 October 1970 until his retirement in 1997 he was Professor of Modern and Medieval Church History at the University of Augsburg. From 1971 until 1998, he was parish priest of the Assumption, Walleshausen, Diocese of Augsburg.

A specialist in the history of the councils, he is founder and editor of the journal Annuarium conciliorum historiae (Paderborn, 1969); and of the series "Konziliengeschichte" (1979), which has published 37 volumes so far. He also published the "Handbook of Bavarian Church History" (St. Ottilie, 1991–1999, 3 vols. in 4). From 1981 to 1998, he was a member of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences. He was appointed Honorary Prelate on 17 July 1983. On 22 July 1990, he received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany from president Richard von Weizsäcker. He served as President of the International Commission for Contemporary Church History from 1998 until 2006. He has been a canon of the chapter of the Saint Peter's Basilica since 1997. From 13 June 1998 until 3 December 2009, he was President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.


On 20 November 2010 Pope Benedict XVI elevated Brandmüller to the College of Cardinals as Cardinal-Deacon of S. Giuliano dei Fiamminghi.[4] Before being made a cardinal, as required by canon law,[5] he received episcopal consecration on 13 November from Cardinal Raffaele Farina, Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church, assisted by Ludwig Schick, Archbishop of Bamberg and Giuseppe De Andrea.

In September 2016, Brandmüller, along with Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Raymond Burke and Joachim Meisner, submitted to Pope Francis a private letter with five dubia (questions) seeking clarification on various points of doctrine in the Pope's apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia. The first dubium concerned the reception of the sacraments by the divorced and remarried; the other four asked about fundamental issues of the Christian life, and referenced Pope John Paul II's encyclical Veritatis splendor. In November 2016, having not received a response, they publicised their letter, entitled "Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia".[6][7]

In May 2017, Caffarra, Brandmüller, Burke and Meisner sent a private letter dated 25 April and hand-delivered to the Pope on 6 May asking for an audience, having received no response to the dubia they had earlier sent him in September 2016. Having received no response, they made their letter public in June 2017.[7] Two cardinals later died that year: Meisner on 5 July;[8] and Caffara on 6 September.[9]

In February 2019, Brandmüller and Burke penned an open letter addressed to Pope Francis calling for an end of "the plague of the homosexual agenda", which they blamed for the sexual abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic Church. They claimed the agenda was spread by "organized networks" protected by a "conspiracy of silence".[10] After ten years at the rank of cardinal deacon, he exercised his option to assume the rank of cardinal priest, which Pope Francis confirmed on 3 May 2021.[11]

Select published works[edit]

  • Das Konzil von Konstanz 1414–1418. 2 vol. Schöningh, Paderborn:
    • Band 1: Bis zur Abreise Sigismunds nach Narbonne, 1991, 2. extended Ed. 1999, ISBN 3-506-74698-7.
    • Band 2: Bis zum Konzilsende, 1998, ISBN 3-506-74691-X.
  • Das Konzil von Pavia-Siena 1423–1424. Schöningh, Paderborn 2002, ISBN 3-506-74675-8.
  • Briefe um das I. Vaticanum. Aus der Korrespondenz des Konzilssekretärs Bischof Fessler von St. Pölten 1869–1872. Schöningh, Paderborn 2005, ISBN 3-506-71359-0.
  • "Unity and Indissolubility of Marriage: From the Middle Ages to the Council of Trent", in: Robert Dodaro (Ed.), Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church, Ignatius Press, San Franzisco 2014. S. 129–147. German Edition: Robert Dorado (Ed.), In der Wahrheit Christi bleiben. Ehe und Kommunion in der Katholischen Kirche, Echter, Würzburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-429-03783-3. (Contents and editorial of the original online available, in the editorial the abstract of the essay from Brandmüller p. 15–24). The anthology is a reply to Walter Kasper, Das Evangelium von der Familie. Die Rede vor dem Konsistorium, Verlag Herder Freiburg, Basel, Wien 2014, ISBN 978-3-451-31245-8.[12]
  • "Renuntiatio Papae - einige historisch-kanonistische Überlegungen", in: Johannes Grohe, Gregor Wurst, Zvjezdan Strika, Hermann Fischer (eds.), Begegnung der Kirche in Ost und West im Spiegel der synodalen Strukturen. Historisch-theologische Beiträge (= Festschrift Petar Vrankić zum 70. Geburtstag), EOS Verlag Erzabtei St. Ottilien, Sankt Ottilien 2017, ISBN 978-3-8306-7869-4, pp. 65–80.


  1. ^ "Letter from Rome | Commonweal Magazine".
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Der deutsche Kardinal Walter Brandmüller wird 85 | DOMRADIO.DE".
  4. ^ "Assegnazione dei Titoli e delle Diaconie ai nuovi Cardinali" [Assignment of Titles and Deaconries to the new Cardinals]. The Holy See (in Italian). Ufficio delle Celebrazioni Liturgiche del Sommo Pontefice. 20 November 2010. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Code of Canon Law - Can. 351 §1". Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Four Cardinals Formally Ask Pope for Clarity on 'Amoris Laetitia'". National Catholic Register.
  7. ^ a b Edward Pentin (19 June 2017). "Dubia Cardinals Seek Papal Audience". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Joachim Meisner, retired Cologne archbishop, dies at 83". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 5 July 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  9. ^ "Cardinal Caffarra, one of the 'dubia' cardinals, has died aged 79". Catholic Herald. 6 September 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Catholic cardinals urge end of 'homosexual agenda'". BBC News. 20 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Concistoro Ordinario Pubblico per il Voto su alcune Cause di Canonizzazione, 03.05.2021" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 3 May 2021. Archived from the original on 3 May 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  12. ^ [Robert Dodaro, Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church, Ignatius Press, San Franzisco 2015, contents and esitorpal online available]

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Victor Saxer
President of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences
13 June 1998 – 3 December 2009
Succeeded by
Bernard Ardura
Preceded by Titular Archbishop of Cesarea in Mauretania
4 November 2010 – 20 November 2010
Succeeded by
Preceded by Cardinal-Deacon of San Giuliano dei Fiamminghi
20 November 2010 –