German post issued a stamp celebrating the 100th anniversary of birth of Julius Dopfner, German Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1961 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1958.
Julius Dopfner was born on August 26, 1913 in Hausen. He was baptised two days later, on August 28. Entering the Augustinian-run gymnasium at Munnerstadt in 1924, he later attended the Seminary of Wurzburg and the Pontifical German-Hungarian College in Rome. Dopfner was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Luigi Traglia on October 29, 1939, and then finished his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, from where he obtained a doctorate in theology in 1941, writing his dissertation on Cardinal John Henry Newman. He worked as a chaplain in Grobwallstadt until 1944.
On August 11, 1948, Döpfner was appointed Bishop of Wurzburg by Pope Pius XII. He received his episcopal consecration on the following October 14 from Archbishop Joseph Kolb, with Bishops Joseph Schroffer and Arthur Landgraf serving as co-consecrators. At age 35, Dopfner was the youngest bishop in the Church at that time.
He was named Bishop of Berlin on January 15, 1957, and became the youngest member of the College of Cardinals when he was created Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria della Scala by Pope John XXIII in the Consistory of December 15, 1958.
Promoted to Archbishop of Munich and Freising on July 3, 1961, Dopfner participated in the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), and sat on its Board of Presidency. Along with Cardinal Raul Silva Henriquez, he assisted Cardinal Leon-Etienne Duval in delivering one of the closing messages of the Council on December 8, 1965.
The German prelate was one of the cardinal electors in the 1963 papal conclave, which selected Pope Paul VI.
From 1965 to 1976, Dopfner was Chairman of the Conference of the German Bishops and thus the spokesman of the Catholic Church in Germany. He was often described as papabile, but he died at age 62 in the archiepiscopal residence of Munich.
The Cardinal, who was considered liberal in his positions, criticised the Church's "antiquated forms" and its "resisting ideas, forms and possibilities to which perhaps the future belongs, and we often consider as impossible that which will finally manifest itself as a legitimate form of Christianity".