Re­tired Cologne arch­bishop dies

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OBITUARIES -

Joachim Meis­ner, the for­mer arch­bishop of Cologne and a prom­i­nent con­ser­va­tive voice in the Ger­man church, died Wed­nes­day, his arch­dio­cese said. He was 83.

Meis­ner died while on va­ca­tion in Bad Fuess­ing, in Bavaria, the Ro­man Catholic arch­dio­cese of Cologne said.

Born Christ­mas Day in 1933 in the east­ern Ger­man city of Bres­lau, which is to­day the Pol­ish city of Wro­claw, Meis­ner and his fam­ily fled west­ward ahead of the ad­vanc­ing Red Army at the end of World War II. He grew up in what be­came com­mu­nist East Ger­many.

Meis­ner stud­ied the­ol­ogy in the city of Er­furt, and was or­dained in 1962. He was made arch­bishop of Ber­lin in 1980 and be­came a car­di­nal three years later.

After ad­vanc­ing up the Catholic hi­er­ar­chy, Meis­ner be­came the Arch­bishop of Cologne in 1989 and served in that role un­til 2014, stay­ing five years past the re­tire­ment age of 75 at the re­quest of Pope Bene­dict XVI.

Meis­ner was an out­spo­ken and some­times con­tro­ver­sial con­ser­va­tive fig­ure in lib­er­ally minded Ger­many.

He op­posed plans to build a large mosque in Cologne and once urged Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel to apol­o­gize for crit­i­ciz­ing the Vat­i­can’s han­dling of the case of a Holo­caust-deny­ing bishop.

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