DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     August 4, 1999     vol. 10, no. 145


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

83.   Cardinal Joachim Meisner

          Cardinal Joachim Meisner was born in Breslau, Silesia, Germany on December 25, 1933. Even though his hometown is now Wroclaw, Poland, he has been a German citizen all his life. He entered the seminary as a after the war and was ordained at the age of 29 on December 22, 1962. After assorted pastoral assignments, he was appointed Regional Director of Caritas in the Erfurt Diocese in 1966 where he remained until March 17, 1975 when Pope Paul VI elevated him to the episcopacy. He was installed as the Titular Bishop of Vina and Auxiliary of the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Erfurt-Meiningen in East Germany on May 17, 1975. Because East Germany was behind the Iron Curtain, he had to tread carefully. A year later he was elected by the German Bishops' Conference in December and asked to represent the group at the Fourth Bishops' Synod in Vatican City in 1977. Three years following that Pope John Paul II named him the new Bishop of Berlin on April 22, 1980. Having experienced the division of East and West Germans with his prior assignment, he amazed the faithful by the ease in which he traveled among the flocks, reaching Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

          In the Holy Father's Consistory of February 2, 1983 Cardinal Meisner was honored with the red-hat and the titular church of St. Prudenziana. After eight years as the shepherd of the sprawling Berlin Diocese, he was promoted to his current post as head of the wealthier Archdiocese of Cologne on December 20, 1988 in charge of what many consider the "8th Wonder of the world" - the magnificent Cathedral of Cologne which is a gothic marvel with more detail than any church or edifice in the world. It was shortly after he assumed command of Cologne that the Berlin Wall came down, something he had predicted would happen for he truly had a pulse on the community on both sides of the wall.

          Despite his many duties as Archbishop of Cologne, he also serves membership in the Roman Curia with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for Bishops, and the Congregation for the Clergy as well as the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Pontifical Office of Economic Affairs of the Holy See. Presently he is 66 years old but not experienced enough to be seriously considered for papal possibilities. He is quite content in Cologne on the edge of the beautiful Bavarian forests where he resides at Kardinal-Frings-Strasse 10, D-50668 Koln 1, Bundesrepublik, Germany. The street where he lives is dedicated to the late Cardinal Joseph Frings, who nurtured a young protege named Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

August 4, 1999       volume 10, no. 145


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