Early life and ordination
Meisner was born in in Breslau (now Wrocław), Lower Silesia (then part of Germany). He studied at the seminary of Erfurt, earning a doctorate in theology. Ordained a priest in 1962, he pastored in Germany.
In 1975, he was elected titular Bishop of Vina and auxiliary Bishop of Erfurt. He was elected as a delegate to the Fourth Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in 1977, where he renewed a friendship with Karol Wojtyła. After Wojtyła was elected Pope John Paul II, he appointed Meisner Bishop of Berlin in 1980, and proclaimed him Cardinal in the consistory of 2 February 1983, with the title Cardinal Priest of S. Pudenziana.
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In 1988 after the death of Joseph Höffner, Meisner was promoted to the position of Archbishop of Cologne, a post he continues to hold. Cardinal Meisner was the bishop in charge for the XX. World Youth Day in August 2005 in the archdiocese in Cologne that attracted more than one million people. As the leader of Germany's biggest and wealthiest archdiocese, the Cardinal holds a very significant moral and social position, too.
Papacy and Magisterium
Meisner is known for his absolute support to the Pope in Rome and all the Church's teachings. Pope John Paul asked for Cardinal Meisner to see him when he was in the Gemelli Hospital in Rome. Meisner had a very close relationship to Pope John Paul II and is a long time friend of Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
He said of Pope Benedict "He [Pope Benedict] has the intelligence of 12 professors and is as pious as a child on the day of his first communion." 
Relations within his diocese
Ulrich Harbecke, former leading religious reporter for Cologne public television, wrote a book on the Cardinal and called him "extremely unchristian and heartless."
Culture and liturgy
"Wherever culture is separated from the worship of God, cult atrophies in ritualism and culture becomes degenerate", said Meisner at the blessing of his own archdiocese's new art museum, the Kolumba, on 14 September 2007. His choice of words recalled the phrase "entartete Kunst" ("degenerate art") used as the title of the exhibition opened by Adolf Hitler in Munich on 19 July 1937 and provoked strong negative reaction. 
Relations with the SSPX
An article in the German magazine Der Spiegel reproached Meisner for having written a friendly letter to Father Franz Schmidberger, head of the German branch of the Society of St. Pius X and its former superior general, without accusing him of antisemitism, and for having allowed 86-year-old Bishop Maximilian Ziegelbauer to celebrate, in a church in Cologne, the Tridentine Mass, whose Good Friday Prayer for the Jews the article considered to be antisemitic.
- "We as Catholic Christians do always have a reason for hope. We shall march with a straight back and head held high, self-confident and sure of victory in our modern times. For we have one God without rival, who revealed himself in Jesus Christ …" (Radio Horeb, 12/12/2004)
- ↑ The isolated Cologne archbishop, Cardinal Joachim Meisner: imposed on Cologne, rejected by priests, another John Paul II bishop radically divides the faithful published by Catholic New Times on 11 September 2005
- ↑ Although the Cardinal said his meaning was "that when art and religion are separated, both are damaged", and a spokesman for him said he had not intended to pay tribute to "old ideologies", a writer for an Internet site that describes itself as "the Internet platform against extremism of the right" accused him of using Goebbels-like incendiary language against artists, in a cowardly attack by one who "has control over a huge and wealthy empire that includes property, church media and the allegiance of millions of believers" against those who "are vulnerable within society: generally isolated, badly paid and rarely organized into trade unions or powerful professional bodies".Karen Margolis: Watch their words. Meisner & Herman, the German backwards crusaders
- ↑ "Zur Rechten Gottes". Der SPIEGEL. August 2009. http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,607625,00.html. Retrieved May 17, 2009.
Archbishop of Cologne
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