Hubert Luthe

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Hubert Luthe (born May 22, 1927 in Lindlar ; † February 4, 2014 in Essen ) was a German theologian and Roman Catholic bishop of Essen .


Hubert Luthe, the oldest of eight children from the marriage of Hermann Luthe and Amalie, née Hasert, attended the Dreikönigsgymnasium in Cologne from 1936 to 1946 . From 1943 to 1945 he was an anti-aircraft helper , served in the military and a prisoner of war in Denmark. After studying Catholic theology and philosophy in Bonn and Munich from 1946 to 1953 , he attended the seminary of the Archdiocese of Cologne in Bensberg . On July 2, 1953, he was ordained a priest in Cologne .

Until 1955 he worked as a chaplain at the Church of St. Mary's Conception in downtown Düsseldorf and briefly taught religion in Cologne, then until 1968 archbishop chaplain and secret secretary of the Archbishop of Cologne , Cardinal Joseph Frings , whom he and Joseph Ratzinger at all meetings of the Second Vatican Council accompanied. With special permission from Pope John XXIII. he was allowed to take part in the deliberations of the council as the only chaplain because of Cardinal Frings' blindness .

After he had operated from 1957 to 1959 further theological studies in Munich, he was in February 1964 in Munich with a dissertation on the topic of religion philosophy of Heinrich Scholz to Dr. theol. PhD . Since August 16, 1968 he was the rain of the Cologne seminary .

Pope Paul VI appointed him on October 28, 1969 titular bishop of Egabro and auxiliary bishop in Cologne. He received his episcopal ordination on December 14, 1969 by Joseph Cardinal Höffner ; Co-consecrators were Joseph Cardinal Frings and the Cologne auxiliary bishops Wilhelm Cleven and Augustinus Frotz . His motto , which he retained in the Ruhr bishopric , was Ut non evacuetur crux (“That the cross should not be dismissed”) and is taken from the first Corinthians ( 1 Cor 1.17  EU ).

After his episcopal ordination, Cardinal Höffner appointed him episcopal vicar for questions of faith, ecumenism and the diocesan council . At the same time resident canon in Cologne, he was responsible for the pastoral district north from 1975. On September 17, 1987, after Archbishop Cardinal Höffner's resignation, he was elected diocesan administrator of the Archdiocese of Cologne, which he remained until February 12, 1989, when Archbishop Cardinal Joachim Meisner was inaugurated .

In 1979 he was appointed Grand Officer of the Knightly Order of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem by Cardinal Grand Master Maximilien Cardinal de Fürstenberg and invested on November 10, 1979 by Franz Cardinal Hengsbach , Grand Prior of the German Lieutenancy . As early as 1975 he became an honorary conventual chaplain of the Order of Malta .

On December 18, 1991, Pope John Paul II appointed him successor to Cardinal Hengsbach, who died in the same year, as Bishop of Essen , thereby confirming the election of the Essen Cathedral Chapter . On February 2, 1992, he took possession of his new place of work. He belonged to the commissions for questions of faith as well as science and culture of the German Bishops' Conference . For over three decades he was the representative of the Bishops' Conference for the Cusanuswerk , a church foundation for the support of students.

Hubert Luthe took his coat of arms with him to Essen as auxiliary bishop, but the crossed arrows with the three crowns in Cologne were on the Cologne cross as a heart shield.

On the occasion of his 75th birthday in 2002, Pope John Paul II accepted the request for resignation that was submitted according to canon law . The former bishop has lived in Hattingen - Niederwenigern since then , until he moved to the Fürstin-Franziska-Christine-Stiftung in Essen - Steele at the beginning of December 2011 .

His successor on the Essen Kathedra was the then Trier Auxiliary Bishop Felix Genn in 2003 after a year-long vacancy . On the basis of Bishop Luthe's cooperation plan, which was put into effect in 1997, this implemented a comprehensive restructuring process in the diocese of Essen with a view to lower numbers of Catholics, declining church tax revenues and a decline in pastoral staff.

Luthe was buried on February 8, 2014 after a requiem celebrated by Archbishop Joachim Cardinal Meisner of Cologne in the Adveniat crypt of Essen Cathedral next to the crypt of his predecessor.


  • Heinrich Scholz's philosophy of religion , 1961
  • What happened to the council? , 1972
  • Piety and Humanity , 1973
  • Marriage Before the Horizon of Faith , 1977
  • Home with the Lord , 1979
  • Encounters with Christ in the Sacraments , 1987
  • Who goes with me. Prayers in sickness. , 1997
  • Called ?!: An encouragement to listen joyfully to God's call , 1997, together with Hans Valks
  • Cooperation units of the parishes. Basis for pastoral planning in the parishes in the diocese of Essen , 1997
  • Blessed are you !: six strong women for the Sermon on the Mount , 2002, together with Máire Hickey OSB


  • Dr. theol. Hubert Luthe, Bishop of Essen. The way, the tasks, the work . In: Baldur Hermans , Günter Berghaus (ed.): Crossings. Christian existence in discourse. Festschrift for Bishop Dr. Hubert Luthe at the end of his 75th year . Edition Werry, Mülheim an der Ruhr 2002. ISBN 3-88867-044-6 . Pp. 8-19.

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Individual evidence

predecessor Office successor
Franz Hengsbach Bishop of Essen
Felix Genn