Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Josef Cardinal Frings

He was archbishop of Cologne from 1942 to 1969, when he retired because of age and beginning blindness. He played no small role during the council. His speech concerning the proceedings given at the opening session initiated the process that led to a reshuffling of the commissions and the schedule of the council.

In Germany there is a verb "fringsen". This expression dates back to the New year's Eve sermon of the cardinal held on December 31, 1946. Frings referred to the looting of coal trains and the bad supply situation in a grim winter.
    "We live in times where the single individual is allowed to take what is necessary to preserve his life and health when he cannot receive it by hard work or bidding."
Accordingly the term "fringsen" was referred to organising food and coal or burning material for the winter among Cologne citizens. The sentence of the homily that followed immediately was often ignored:
    "I think that in many cases people exceed the limits. And then there is only one way: Giive back all unjustly acquired goods, otherwise there will be no forgiveness with God."

On the last photo you can see Caridnal Frings with the pectoral cross that belonged to Clemens August of Bavaria, elector and archbishop of Cologne from 1723 to 1761. It's always nice when the old bling doesn't rot in museums but actually has a life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Searching for the family connection to Josef Cardinal Frings I cam across your blog. Is there anywhere to find out who his siblings were?

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