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Julius Döpfner


Julius Döpfner

His Eminence
Julius August Döpfner
Archbishop of Munich and Freising
Church Munich Frauenkirche
Archdiocese Munich and Freising
Province Munich and Freising
Metropolis Munich
Appointed 3 July 1961
Installed 30 September 1961
Term ended 24 July 1976
Predecessor Joseph Wendel
Successor Joseph Ratzinger
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria della Scala
Ordination 29 October 1939
by Luigi Traglia
Consecration 14 October 1948
by Joseph Otto Kolb
Created Cardinal 15 December 1958
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Born (1913-08-26)26 August 1913
Hausen, Bavaria, German Empire
Died 24 July 1976(1976-07-24) (aged 62)
Palais Holnstein, Munich, Bavaria, West Germany
Buried Munich Frauenkirche
Nationality German and Vatican
Denomination Roman Catholic
  • Matthäus Döpfner
  • Maria Döpfner
Previous post
Alma mater Pontifical Gregorian University
Motto praedicamus crucifixum
Coat of arms
Styles of
Julius Döpfner
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal

Julius August Döpfner (August 26, 1913–July 24, 1976) was a German Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1961 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1958.


Early life and ordination

Julius Döpfner was born in Hausen (today a part of Bad Kissingen) to Matthäus and Maria Döpfner. He was baptised two days later, on August 28. Döpfner had a sister, Maria, and two brothers, Paul and Otto. Entering the Augustinian-run gymnasium at Münnerstadt in 1924, he later attended the Seminary of Würzburg and the Pontifical German-Hungarian College in Rome. Döpfner was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Luigi Traglia on October 29, 1939, and then finished his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, from where he obtained a doctorate in theology in 1941, writing his dissertation on Cardinal John Henry Newman. He worked as a chaplain in Großwallstadt until 1944.


On August 11, 1948, Döpfner was appointed Bishop of Würzburg by Pope Pius XII. He received his episcopal consecration on the following October 14 from Archbishop Joseph Kolb, with Bishops Joseph Schröffer and Arthur Landgraf serving as co-consecrators. At age 35, Döpfner was the youngest bishop in the Church at that time.[1]

Archbishop and Cardinal

He was named Bishop of Berlin on January 15, 1957, and became the youngest member of the College of Cardinals when he was created Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria della Scala (pro hac vice) by Pope John XXIII in the Consistory of December 15, 1958.

Promoted to Archbishop of Munich and Freising on July 3, 1961, Döpfner participated in the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), and sat on its Board of Presidency. Along with Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez, he assisted Cardinal Léon-Etienne Duval in delivering one of the closing messages of the Council on December 8, 1965.[2]

The German prelate was one of the cardinal electors in the 1963 papal conclave, which selected Pope Paul VI.

From 1965 to 1976, Döpfner was Chairman of the Conference of the German Bishops and thus the spokesman of the Catholic Church in Germany. He was often described as papabile, but he died at age 62 in the archiepiscopal residence of Munich.


Church reform

The Cardinal, who was considered liberal in his positions,[3][4][5] criticised the Church's "antiquated forms" and its "resisting ideas, forms and possibilities to which perhaps the future belongs, and we often consider as impossible that which will finally manifest itself as a legitimate form of Christianity".[6]

Birth control

He was deeply involved with the question of birth control.[7][8]


He also supported ecumenism.[6]


External links

  • Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church profile
  • Catholic-Hierarchy profile
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Matthias Ehrenfried
Bishop of Würzburg
Succeeded by
Josef Stangl
Preceded by
Wilhelm Weskamm
Bishop of Berlin
Succeeded by
Alfred Bengsch
Preceded by
Joseph Wendel
Archbishop of Munich and Freising
Succeeded by
Joseph Ratzinger
Preceded by
Josef Frings
Chairman of the Conference of the German Bishops
Succeeded by
Joseph Höffner

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