Klaus Mörsdorf

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Klaus Mörsdorf (* 3. April 1909 in Muhl ; † 17th August 1989 in Munich ) was a German Catholic theologian, canonist and professor of canon law .


Klaus Mörsdorf studied from 1928 to 1931 in Munich, Berlin and Cologne law and was 1931 in Cologne for Dr.iur. PhD . After studying theology in Fulda , Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin from 1932 to 1936, he was ordained a priest in Berlin in 1936 . He was incardinated in the Diocese of Berlin . After a brief pastoral activity in Berlin, he returned to the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich , where he received his doctorate in 1938. In 1939 he completed his habilitation at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster in the subject of canon law . During the Second World War , Mörsdorf was a military pastor in Münster from 1940 to 1945 . From 1946 he lived in Munich, later in Gauting near Munich until his death.

He was a member of the Catholic student association KDSt.V. Rheno-Franconia Munich in the CV .

Scientific career

On January 1, 1946, he became professor of canon law at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster, and from May 1, 1946 at the University of Munich. There he founded the Canon Institute , which he headed until his retirement in 1977. This was renamed after him in 2002 in Klaus-Mörsdorf-Studium für Canonistik (with the possibility of acquiring the Lic. Iur. Can and the Dr. iur. Can.). Mörsdorf continued the overall presentation of canon law founded by Eduard Eichmann and was therefore the authoritative interpreter of Catholic church law in German-speaking countries. Mörsdorf's student Winfried Aymans later took over responsibility for this work. As a council body, Mörsdorf was involved in the preparation and implementation of the Second Vatican Council and as a consultor in the reform of the Codex Iuris Canonici in 1983.

Until his death he was considered the Nestor of canon law.


Klaus Mörsdorf was the academic teacher of numerous students, among them the later Cardinal Curia Giovanni Lajolo , the later Archbishop of Madrid Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela , the late Archbishop of Freiburg Oskar Saier , the retired Bishop of Augsburg Viktor Dammertz , the late Bishop of Lugano Eugenio Corecco , as well as the canon lawyers Winfried Aymans , Georg May , Johannes Neumann , Heribert Schmitz , Knut Walf .


Publications (selection)

  • The new right to occupy the episcopal chairs with special consideration of the list procedure. Röhrscheid, Bonn 1932, (Cologne, University, dissertation, from January 12, 1933).
  • Jurisprudence and administration in canon law. Herder, Freiburg (Breisgau) 1941.
  • as editor: textbook of canon law based on the Codex iuris canonici. Founded by Eduard Eichmann . Schöningh, Munich et al. 1949–1950;
    • Volume 1: Introduction, General Part and Personal Law. 6th edition.
    • Volume 2: Property Law. 6th, completely changed edition.
    • Volume 3: Trial and Criminal Law. 6th, completely changed edition.
  • Writings on canon law. Schöningh, Paderborn et al. 1989, ISBN 3-506-75755-5 .


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