With the demise of Cardinal Karl Lehmann I lost a friend and a faithful companion: in theology, Episcopal ministry and ecumenical commitment.
We shared our theological commitment since the 1960s; our visions, based on the joint experience of the Second Vatican II, converged: a theology rooted in the Bible, that constitutes its very soul; a theology shaped by Church tradition as a living spring; and a theology for today which interprets the signs of the times, engaged in dialogue with other Christian Churches, religions, modern philosophy and contemporary problems.
Karl Lehmann, Bishop and President of the German Bishops’ Conference, has thus been the face of the Catholic Church in Germany for over two decades, a truly human, smiling face, oftentimes more popular than many celebrities and politicians.
We worked together for Church renewal, the so-called “update” of the Church. In this respect we had to fight a set of disputes inside the Church. Occasionally, Karl Lehmann was misunderstood as a liberal; in reality he was radical, in his determination to bear witness to the Gospel in today’s world. His motto was: “Remain steadfast in the faith.” We pray that he may remain steadfast in the embrace of our merciful Father. R.I.P.