Franz Kamphaus

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Former Bishop Franz Kamphaus on August 10, 2008 at the 900th anniversary of his place of residence in Aulhausen

Franz Kamphaus (born February 2, 1932 in Lüdinghausen ) is emeritus bishop of the Roman Catholic Church . From 1982 to 2007 he was Bishop of Limburg .


Kamphaus, the youngest of five children in a farming family, studied after graduating from high school at the Collegium Augustinianum Gaesdonck , Catholic theology and philosophy at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster and at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich . Subsequently, on February 21, 1959 , he received the sacrament of ordination through the Bishop of Münster , Michael Keller .

In 1968 Kamphaus became a sermon with the work From Exegesis . About the problems of scriptural proclamation of Easter, Marvel and childhood stories at Muenster University doctorate . From 1972 he taught pastoral theology and homiletics there as a scientific adviser and professor ; from 1973 he was also the governor of the diocese's seminary .

On May 3, 1982 appointed him Pope John Paul II. The bishop of Limburg . Cardinal Joseph Höffner donated Franz Kamphaus the episcopal ordination on June 13 of the same year, co- consecrators were the Bishop of Münster, Reinhard Lettmann , and the Bishop of Daloa , Pierre-Marie Coty . Kamphaus placed his bishopric under the motto Evangelizare pauperibus ( proclaim the gospel to the poor ), a quote from Lk 4.18  EU .

Coat of arms of the Bishop of Limburg

Kamphaus no longer lived in the episcopal house in Limburg's old town, where he temporarily housed a refugee family from Eritrea , and instead moved into an apartment in the Limburg seminary . He was also reluctant to use his service limousine with driver.

The foundation of the profile churches fell during his term of office . These are the youth churches Youth Church Jona , Youth Church Crossover , Youth Church Kana (all 2005), the Meditation Church Center for Christian Meditation and Spirituality of the Diocese of Limburg and the Mourning Church Center for Mourning Pastoral Care of the Diocese of Limburg (both 2007).

Until autumn 2006, Kamphaus was chairman of the World Church Commission of the German Bishops' Conference .

According to can. 401 §1 CIC submitted Kamphaus because of the completion of the 75th year of life with Pope Benedict XVI. submitted a resignation from his office as Bishop of Limburg. The Pope accepted the resignation on February 2, 2007, and Kamphaus was removed from office with a pontifical vesper on his birthday (on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord ). Since his retirement , Franz Kamphaus has been active as a pastor at St. Vincenzstift Aulhausen in the Rheingau , where he also lives.

On January 20, 2008 - almost a year after Kamphaus' s resignation - the Münster auxiliary bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst was introduced to office as Kamphaus's successor and the youngest German bishop. With that, a churchman from the diocese of Münster became Bishop of Limburg again.

Episcopal coat of arms

The coat of arms is quartered by a broad-ended red cross, in the foot of which is a blue-gold dragon with wings; Field 1 red dew cross in silver, field 2 red bars in gold (coat of arms of the diocese of Münster ), field 3 red bell in gold and field 4 blue ploughshare in silver. No episcopal insignia (galero, cross, crook).

His motto is Evangelizare pauperibus ( proclaim the gospel to the poor ), a quote from Lk 4.18  EU .

Controversial attitude towards pregnancy conflict counseling

Kamphaus achieved nationwide fame in 1999 for his position on the issue of pregnancy conflict counseling, in which he at times opposed Pope John Paul II and obtained a temporary special regulation for his diocese: Pregnant women could get advice certificates from the diocese's counseling centers, thus allowing an abortion with no punishment to do. By a papal decision of March 8, 2002 it was forbidden to continue to issue such certificates. In addition, John Paul II endowed the then Limburg auxiliary bishop Gerhard Pieschl with a special power of attorney according to can. 403 §2 CIC , with the mandate to discontinue or reorganize the pregnancy conflict counseling with counseling certificate.


Because it is forbidden for Catholic priests according to canon law to “take on public offices that involve participation in the exercise of secular violence”, Bishop Kamphaus rebuked Wiesbaden city dean Ernst-Ewald Roth for “disobedience” and suspended him from all pastoral care Tasks. Previously, the Wiesbaden SPD had put Roth as a candidate for the office of Mayor of Wiesbaden. Among other things, he was no longer allowed to baptize, trust or bury anyone, but remained a priest. Because he registered almost a day too late, Roth could not run for election.


Numerous awards were presented to Kamphaus. However, he only accepted two:


  • "Do it like God: become human!"
  • “I would like to work as hard as I can so that the distinctive original profile of Christianity comes to the fore. This is the only way we can do justice to our mission in the world. We don't need to repeat what others say and do. That would be boring. The most exciting thing about us is and remains Jesus Christ. " (Franz Kamphaus, 2003)
  • “The God we believe in is not a god of war, not a god of a particular army, not a god of just one nation. He is the God and Father of all people in the South and North, East and West, Iraq and America. They are all his creatures. Nobody should therefore appeal to God when preparing for war. ” (From the address by Bishop Kamphaus at the peace rally of the churches on February 8, 2003 on the Römerberg in Frankfurt)
  • "While love is experienced as a blessing gift because of its baselessness, hatred tries incessantly to cover up its baselessness by desperately and in verbose explanations enumerating reasons that give it the appearance of legitimacy." (From an article on Islamist Terror)

Works (selection)

  • From exegesis to sermon . Dissertation University of Münster. Matthias Grünewald Verlag, Mainz 1968
  • Gospels for Preachers and Teachers . Sheed & Ward Ltd 1974, ISBN 0-72207411-5
  • The stone started rolling. Words that stimulate belief. Herder, Freiburg 1987, ISBN 3-451-20834-2
  • The price of freedom. Impetus for the social responsibility of Christians . Herder, Freiburg 1987, ISBN 3-78671325-1
  • Mother church and her daughters . Herder, Freiburg 1990, ISBN 3-451-21576-4
  • When God comes into the world . Herder, Freiburg 1993, ISBN 3-451-22846-7
  • Come to the nativity scene . Herder, Freiburg 1993, ISBN 3-451-27174-5
  • A future for everyone. Reversal to solidarity . Herder, Freiburg 1993, ISBN 3-451-23877-2
  • Passionate priests . Herder, Freiburg 1993, ISBN 3-451-23234-0
  • Do this in memory of me . Herder, Freiburg 1999, ISBN 3-451-26865-5
  • Ground faith. Heckling . Herder, Freiburg 2001, ISBN 3-451-27601-1
  • When God gets in the way: 60 sermons and talks for a Christian with a profile . Herder, Freiburg 2001, ISBN 3-451-27368-3
  • Lichtblicke: Annual reading book . Herder, Freiburg 2001, ISBN 3-451-27047-1
  • For a sustainable church: Letter from the bishop to the parishes in the Limburg diocese on the 175th anniversary of the diocese's foundation . Bishop Ordinariat Limburg 2002, SWB-ID 10768037
  • The art of dying: the German past, religious conviction, the judgment of reason, everything speaks against the fact that doctors assist the dying in death; for the art of dying, the ars moriendi , ultimately coincides with the art of living, the ars vivendi; he who cannot die cannot live either . In: FAZ September 30, 2003, ISSN  0174-4909
  • For God's sake - life. Objections . Herder, Freiburg 2004, ISBN 3-451-28202-X
  • Take God at his word. Time announcements . Herder, Freiburg 2006, ISBN 3-451-28852-4
  • After Jesus. Meditations and watercolors. (With 12 colored watercolors by Andreas Felger) Presence Kunst & Buch, Gnadenthal-Hünstelden 2007, ISBN 978-3-87630-533-2
  • God is not a nostalgic. Impetus for fasting and Easter . Herder, 2012, ISBN 978-3-451-33329-3
  • Promises. The spiritual Advent companion . Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, Stuttgart 2014, ISBN 978-3-460-27163-0
  • Anointed, not smeared. The message of the great celebrations in the church year . Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, Stuttgart 2014, ISBN 978-3-460-23407-9
  • When the belief becomes concrete , ed. by Regina Groot Bramel. Patmos Verlag, Ostfildern 2018, ISBN 978-3-8436-1034-6


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Mission statement of the Catholic youth church Crossover. ( PDF ) In: Website Youth Church Crossover. August 28, 2015, accessed September 23, 2016 .
  2. ^ Diocese of Limburg : Decree of Bishop Franz Kamphaus of January 15, 2007. Published in the Official Gazette of the Diocese of Limburg 2007 No. 2 of February 1, 2007 No. 449: Document on the establishment of the profile church “Holy Cross - Center for Christian Meditation and Spirituality”. In: Website of the parish of St. Josef Frankfurt . February 1, 2007, accessed October 13, 2016 .
  3. ^ Official Journal of the Diocese of Limburg, No. 2, February 1, 2007, No. 448, document on the establishment of the profile church “St. Michael - Center for Mourning Pastoral “, Frankfurt am Main
  4. FAZ of February 2, 2007: Adoption: Much appreciation for Kamphaus ( Memento of March 5, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  5. Limburg Episcopal Ordinariate
  6. ^ Welt Online from March 8, 2002: Kamphaus has to get out of pregnancy conflict counseling
  7. Pregnancy advice : Pope puts Bishop Kamphaus in his place
  8. ^ Spiegel Online June 3, 2006: Heavenly Solution
  9. Spiegel Online January 5, 2007: Wiesbadener SPD: "We are the laughing stock of the city"
  10. ^ Franz Kamphaus: The great moment of the becoming man: Christmas impulses Verlag Herder, 2009, ISBN 978-3-451-31061-4
  11. Franz Kamphaus: Real tolerance has limits , Frankfurter Rundschau, April 19, 2004 ( online version ( Memento from August 6, 2006 in the Internet Archive ))
predecessor Office successor
Wilhelm Kempf Bishop of Limburg
Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst