File:Kardinal lehmann 2001.jpg

Karl Lehmann (born 16 May 1936 in Sigmaringen) is a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop of Mainz and former Chairman of the Conference of the German Bishops (German: Deutsche Bischofskonferenz), the highest representative post of the Catholic Church in Germany.


Cardinal Lehmann was born in Sigmaringen, Germany, the son of a teacher, Karl Lehmann (d. 1986), and his wife Margaret, née Waldner (d. 1997).[1]

Academic career

After graduating from the National Gymnasium in Sigmaringen in 1956, Lehmann studied philosophy and theology at the Albert Ludwigs Universität in Freiburg and the Collegium Germanicum et Hungaricum in Rome.[1] Lehman earned his Ph.D from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1962. He was ordained by Cardinal Julius Döpfner in Rome on 10 October 1963.[1] From 1964 to 1967 he was a research assistant to Karl Rahner at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; in 1967 he earned his second doctorate from the Pontifical Gregorian University, in theology.[1] Lehmann became a professor at the Johannes-Gutenberg Universität in 1968; from 1971 until 1983 he taught Ecumenical and Dogmatic Theology at the Albert Ludwigs Universität.[1]

Styles of
Karl Lehmann
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Mainz

Ecclesiastical career

Lehmann was appointed Bishop of Mainz by Pope John Paul II on 23 June 1983 and consecrated on 2 October of the same year by his predecessor Cardinal Hermann Volk in Mainz Cathedral.[1]

In September 1987 the Bishop became chairman of the Conference of the German Bishops.[1] He was subsequently reelected in 1993, 1999 and 2005. On 28 January 2001, Pope John Paul II appointed him Cardinal-Priest of the titular church of S. Leone I.[2] He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.[1]

Awards and honors

Cardinal Lehmann was appointed a Commander of the Légion d'honneur by Jacques Chirac in 2006.[3] The Cardinal is also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees from institutions such as the University of Innsbruck (1991), The Catholic University of America (1994), the Pontifical University of Maynooth (1997), the Catholic Theological Academy of Warsaw (2000), the Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (2002), the University of Opole (2004), and the University of Iaşi (2000).[3] Also in 2000, Bishop Lehmann was awarded the Großes Verdienstkreuz mit Stern und Schulterband, as well as honorary citizenship in the City of Mainz in 2001.[3] Since 2008 he is member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Resignation from the Conference of German Bishops

Mitra Kardinal Lehmann von Josef Plum

Cardinal Lehmann's mitre, design by Josef Plum (1984).

On 15 January 2008, Cardinal Lehmann prematurely stepped down from his post as chairman of the Congregation of German Bishops, citing recent health problems.[4] Lehmann set a record for the longest term as chairman of the conference, his more than 7,400 day-long term surpassing the length of the terms of all his predecessors, including Josef Frings.[5] Lehman retired on 18 February, but remains Bishop of Mainz.

In 2009, he criticized Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos after the controversy on the lifting of the excommunications of bishop Richard Williamson. [6]

Coat of arms

Cardinal Lehmann's episcopal coat of arms incorporates various elements, such as the wheel from the arms of the Diocese of Mainz, the key from the Diocese of Worms, and an open book with the letters Alpha and Omega, a symbol of the message of Jesus Christ (as well as for the cardinal's personal enthusiasm for books).[3]

His Latin motto, State in fide, "Stand firmly in the faith", is derived from 1 Corinthians 16:13.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Giebelmann, Dietmar (2006-09-05). "Tabellarischer Lebenslauf von Kardinal Lehmann". Bistumsfest 2006. Diocese of Mainz. Retrieved 2008-01-16.  (German)
  2. Cheney, David M. (2007-10-20). "Karl Cardinal Lehmann". Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Lebenslauf von Karl Kardinal Lehmann". Diocese of Mainz. Retrieved 2008-01-16.  (German)
  4. "Bischöfe suchen Nachfolger für Kardinal Lehmann". Südwest Presse (Südwest Presse Online-Dienste GmbH). 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2008-01-16.  (German)
  5. "Kardinal Lehmann tritt zurück". Welt Online (Axel Springer AG). 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2008-01-16.  (German)

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Joseph Höffner
Chairman of the Conference of the German Bishops
Succeeded by
Robert Zollitsch
Preceded by
Hermann Cardinal Volk
Bishop of Mainz
Succeeded by

la:Carolus Lehmannno:Karl Lehmannpt:Karl Lehmann

ru:Леманн, Карл fi:Karl Lehmann

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