Karl Josef Becker

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His Eminence
Karl Josef Becker
Cardinal-Deacon of San Giuliano Martire
See San Giuliano Martire
Appointed 18 February 2012
Installed 22 April 2012
Term ended 10 February 2015
Predecessor None
Ordination 31 July 1958
Created Cardinal 18 February 2012
by Pope Benedict XVI
Rank Cardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Birth name Karl Josef Becker
Born(1928-04-18)18 April 1928
Cologne, Germany
Died10 February 2015(2015-02-10) (aged 86)
Rome, Italy
Nationality German
Denomination Roman Catholic
Coat of arms Coat of arms of Karl Josef Becker.svg

Karl Josef Becker S.J. (18 April 1928 – 10 February 2015) was a German Catholic theologian and consultor for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 15 September 1977. He taught at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the oldest among the nine congregations of the Roman Curia. It was founded to defend the church from heresy; today, it is the body responsible for promulgating and defending Catholic doctrine. Formerly known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, it is informally known in many Catholic countries as the Holy Office, and between 1908 and 1965 was officially known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office.

Pontifical Gregorian University pontifical university located in Rome, Italy

The Pontifical Gregorian University is a higher education ecclesiastical school located in Rome, Italy. It was originally a part of the Roman College founded in 1551 by Ignatius of Loyola, and included all grades of schooling. The university division of philosophy and theology of the Roman College was given Papal approval in 1556, making it the first university founded by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). In 1584 the Roman College was given a grandiose new home by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom it was renamed. It was already making its mark not only in sacred but also in natural science.


Coat of arms of Karl Josef Cardinal Becker SJ Coat of arms of Karl Josef Becker.svg
Coat of arms of Karl Josef Cardinal Becker SJ

Becker entered the Society of Jesus on 13 April after having studied classical philology for three semesters. After the novitiate in Cologne, he studied philosophy at the Jesuit University of Pullach (today University for Philosophy in Münich) from 1950 to 1953. From 1955 to 1959, he studied theology at the University for Philosophy and Theology Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt am Main. His doctoral dissertation in theology was "Die Rechtfertigungslehre nach Domingo de Soto. Das Denken eines Konzilstellnehmers vor, in und nach Trient", which he defended in 1963. It was published in 1967.

Society of Jesus male religious congregation of the Catholic Church

The Society of Jesus is a scholarly religious congregation of the Catholic Church for men founded by Ignatius of Loyola and approved by Pope Paul III. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.

According to John L. Allen, Jr., Becker enjoyed the respect and trust of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the prefect of the congregation (and future Pope Benedict XVI). More than one theologian in trouble was advised to "go see Fr. Becker." It is widely believed, for example, that Becker was involved in the Vatican's investigation of fellow Jesuit Fr. Jacques Dupuis and his work on religious pluralism.

Religious pluralism attitude or policy regarding the diversity of religious belief systems co-existing in society

Religious pluralism is an attitude or policy regarding the diversity of religious belief systems co-existing in society. It can indicate one or more of the following:

Becker wrote about interpretations of " subsistit in " in Lumen gentium . [1] In 2009, it was announced that he would participate in the doctrinal discussions between the Society of St. Pius X and the Holy See.

Lumen gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is one of the principal documents of the Second Vatican Council. This dogmatic constitution was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 21 November 1964, following approval by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,151 to 5. As is customary with significant Roman Catholic Church documents, it is known by its incipit, "Lumen gentium", Latin for "Light of the Nations".

Holy See episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, is the apostolic episcopal see of the bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, ex cathedra the universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, and a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and Papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholic bishops and Catholics around the world organised in polities of the Latin Church, the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.

Pope Benedict XVI made Becker a cardinal on 18 February 2012. [2] Considering his age, Becker asked for and received dispensation not to be consecrated a bishop as required by canon law. Becker was Cardinal-Deacon of San Giuliano Martire.


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