Karl Klein (Bishop)

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Bishop Karl Klein

Karl Klein (born January 11, 1819 in Frankfurt am Main , † February 6, 1898 in Limburg an der Lahn ) was the Roman Catholic Bishop of Limburg from 1886 to 1898 .


Klein came from the Frankfurt bourgeoisie and - in contrast to most of the other men at the head of the Limburg diocese , who usually had a rural background - had an extensive academic education in Regensburg , Freiburg and Munich . He was ordained a priest on November 4, 1841 after completing his theological studies . In 1843 he became secretary to Bishop Peter Joseph Blum, who was only ten years his senior . Klein took on numerous offices in the diocese administration and, around 1848 and during the Nassau church dispute, excelled as a negotiator and tactician in political negotiations. He later became vicar general of the diocese.

In 1867 he moved into the Prussian House of Representatives as a member of the Center Party for the Unterwesterwaldkreis . During the Kulturkampf , Klein organized the bishop's escape into exile in Bohemia as a secret delegate and then de facto headed the diocese.

Klein and Blum were close friends. Klein was entered as a universal heir in Blum's will.

In 1886 Klein was born by Pope Leo XIII appointed Bishop of Limburg as the successor to Christian Roos , who in turn succeeded Blum, who died the previous year and now went to Freiburg as Archbishop, in 1885. He was ordained bishop on November 4, 1886, by the former Archbishop of Cologne, Paul Ludolf Cardinal Melchers .

Immediately after his appointment as bishop, Karl Klein accepted the Pope's view that the Kulturkampf could only be resolved through an amicable settlement between state and church. Publications at the beginning of his tenure repeatedly underlined the "Concordia inter Imperium et Sacerdotium". In his first pastoral letter, he also emphasized the importance "that the relationship between state and church is well-ordered and peaceful". The emperor was named before the Pope when it came to the merits in ending the Kulturkampf. A clear political implementation of the emerging course took place in 1887 in the Septennat dispute , when the center faction in the Reichstag refused to approve the army budget for seven years and thus to give up its budget right - an important power instrument of parliament - for this period .

Together with the Fulda bishop Georg von Kopp , Klein was the only German bishop who spoke out clearly in favor of the papal line and thus against the Center Party's rejection of the Septennate . Inwardly, he tried above all to restore the church structures that had suffered from the Kulturkampf.


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predecessor Office successor
Christian Roos Bishop of Limburg
Dominic Willi