Styles of
Joseph Cardinal Höffner
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Cologne (emeritus)

Joseph Höffner (December 24, 1906—October 16, 1987) was a German Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Cologne from 1969 to 1987, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1969.


Born in Horhausen, Höffner attended the seminary in Freiburg im Breisgau and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome before being ordained to the priesthood by Francesco Cardinal Marchetti-Selvaggiani on October 30, 1932. He finished his studies in 1934, and then did pastoral work in Trier until 1945. After teaching at the Trier seminary for six years, Höffner was named to the University of Münster in 1951. He was the founder, director, and a professor of the Institute of Christian Social Sciences in Munich from 1951 to 1961, and was also a scientific advisor to three ministries of the Federal Republic.

On July 9, 1962, Höffner was appointed Bishop of Münster. He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 14 from Bishop Matthias Wehr, with Bishops Heinrich Baaken and Heinrich Tenhumberg serving as co-consecrators. Höffner attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, and was promoted to Coadjutor Archbishop of Cologne and Titular Archbishop of Aquileia on January 6, 1969. He succeeded Josef Cardinal Frings as Archbishop of Cologne on February 24 of that same year.

Höffner was created Cardinal Priest of S. Andrea della Valle by Pope Paul VI in the consistory of April 28, 1969. From 1976 to 1987, he was Chairman of the Conference of the German Bishops and thus the highest representative of the Catholic Church in Germany. The German prelate was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the conclaves of August and October 1978, which selected Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II respectively. Höffner resigned as Cologne's archbishop on September 14, 1987, after a period of seventeen years.

The Cardinal died the next month in Cologne at age 80, and is buried in the Cologne Cathedral. Höffner, who was also an expert in Catholic social doctrine, was awarded the posthumous honor of "Righteous Among the Nations" in 2003 by the State of Israel, for having saved Jewish lives during World War II.


Preceded by
Josef Frings
Coat of arms of Heiner Koch
Archbishop of Cologne

Succeeded by
Joachim Meisner
Preceded by
Julius Döpfner
Chairman of the Conference of the German Bishops
Succeeded by
Karl Lehmann
la:Iosephus Höffner

no:Joseph Höffnerfi:Joseph Höffner

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