Joseph Höffner

His Eminence
Joseph Höffner
Archbishop of Cologne
Church Roman Catholic Church
Archdiocese Cologne
Metropolis Cologne
See Cologne
Installed 24 February 1969
Term ended 14 September 1987
Predecessor Josef Frings
Successor Joachim Meisner
Other posts
Ordination 30 October 1932
by Francesco Marchetti-Selvaggiani
Consecration 14 September 1962
by Matthias Wehr
Created Cardinal 28 April 1969
by Pope Paul VI
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Birth name Joseph Höffner
Born (1906-12-24)24 December 1906
Horhausen, German Empire
Died 16 October 1987(1987-10-16) (aged 80)
Cologne, Germany
Buried Cologne Cathedral
Nationality German
Parents Paul Höffner
Helene Schug
Previous post
Motto Justitia et Caritas
("Justice and Charity")
Coat of arms
Styles of
Joseph Höffner
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Cologne (emeritus)

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

The Archdiocese of Cologne - in a 2007 statement - has indicated their intention to soon open the cause of beatification for the late cardinal. This - when it occurs - shall confer upon him the title Servant of God.


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 Cardinal Francesco Marchetti-Selvaggiani on 30 October 1932. Having already earned a doctorate of philosophy in 1929, Höffner earned a doctorate of theology in Rome in 1934, another doctorate of theology in Freiburg im Breisgau in 1938, a degree in economics in 1939 and a doctorate in political science in 1940. After 1934, he also 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 9 July 1962, Höffner was appointed Bishop of Münster. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 14 September 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 6 January 1969. He succeeded Josef Frings as Archbishop of Cologne on 24 February of that same year.

Höffner was created Cardinal-Priest of S. Andrea della Valle by Pope Paul VI in the consistory of 28 April 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 14 September 1987, after a period of seventeen years.

Höffner died the next month in Cologne at age 80, and is buried in the Cologne Cathedral. An expert in Catholic social doctrine, he 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.[1][2] The Deutsche Post honored him in 2006, on the occasion of his 100th birthday, with a stamp, which included his photo and episcopal motto "Justitia et Caritas".


  1. Joseph Höffner – his activity to save Jews' lives during the Holocaust, at Yad Vashem website
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Michael Keller
Bishop of Münster
Succeeded by
Heinrich Tenhumberg
Preceded by
Titular Archbishop of Aquileia
Succeeded by
Michele Cecchini
Preceded by
Josef Frings

Archbishop of Cologne

Succeeded by
Joachim Meisner
Preceded by
Luigi Traglia
Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Andrea della Valle
Succeeded by
Giovanni Canestri
Preceded by
Julius Döpfner
President of the German Episcopal Conference
Succeeded by
Karl Lehmann
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