Styles of
Julius Döpfner
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Munich and Freising

Julius Döpfner.

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 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]


  1. Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church: DÖPFNER, Julius
  2. Christus Rex. To Women
  3. Time Magazine. Council of Renewal October 5, 1962
  4. Time Magazine. Catholic Freedom v. Authority November 22, 1968
  5. Time Magazine. The Loyal Opposition November 2, 1962
  6. 6.0 6.1 Time Magazine. The Unfinished Reformation February 7, 1964
  7. Time Magazine. Lex Dubia Non Obligat April 22, 1966
  8. Time Magazine. Birth Control: Pronouncement Withdrawn June 21, 1968

External links

no:Julius Döpfnerro:Julius Döpfner
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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