“Lord, receive your faithful servant into your joy”

Cologne Archbishop Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki has paid tribute to the late church historian and former cathedral chaplain Norbert Trippen as a "pious man of great inner freedom". Trippen had succumbed to cancer at age 80.

According to the Archdiocese of Cologne, Trippen died on Wednesday in a hospice of the archdiocese. "He remains in my memory as a priestly confrere who, in addition to his academic achievements, was always a pastor turned toward people," Cardinal Woelki said. Trippen had been a "pious man in the positive sense", "of great inner freedom and at the same time cheerful and faithful in everything"." Woelki continued. "His protective hands he always held over those who needed his support."

Cathedral provost Gerd Bachner said they were "deeply grateful to Prelate Trippen for his faithful service to the cathedral". In had always been impressed by how trustingly and confidently Trippen proclaimed and lived his faith, Bachner said. "I will remember his subtle humor, his enormous knowledge of the history of the archdiocese and his commitment as confessor at the cathedral."

Chaplain and honorary professor

Trippen, a native of Dusseldorf, studied theology in Innsbruck, Bonn and Cologne. Ordained a priest in 1962, he first worked in pastoral care and as an assistant to the vicar general in Cologne. After his habilitation, he was rector of the Cologne seminary and honorary professor at the University of Bonn from 1976 to 1989. From 1986 to 2011 he was a member of the Cologne Cathedral Chapter.

The former honorary professor at the University of Bonn has published two volumes of comprehensive biographies of Cologne Cardinals Josef Frings (1887-1978) and Joseph Hoffner (1906-1987). Other important publications in the area of church history were his dissertation on "The Cathedral Chapter and the Archbishop Elections in Cologne (1821-1929)" and his postdoctoral thesis on "Theology and Magisterium in Conflict – The Church Measures against Modernism in 1907 and their Effects in Germany".

Contact person for victims of abuse

After Hoffner's death in 1987, Trippen himself was considered a promising candidate for the bishop's chair in Cologne, which was filled by Pope John Paul II. but with the then Berlin Cardinal Joachim Meisner.

From 1991 to 2001, Trippen was head of the school/university department in the Cologne vicariate general. From 1986 to 2001, he also served as president of the Borromausverein, an ecclesiastical service provider that supports libraries. From 2002 to 2011, he was the first point of contact for victims of sexual abuse in Catholic institutions in the Archdiocese of Cologne.

(Archdiocese of Cologne, kna)

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