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German ex-Catholic head Cardinal Karl Lehmann dies at 81


BERLIN — Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the former head of Germany’s Catholic Bishops Conference, has died. He was 81.

The Catholic group said in a statement that Lehmann died Sunday at his home in Mainz.

Lehmann had a stroke last year and in recent days, as his death seemed imminent, Catholics across the country had prayed for him.

The current head of the Bishops Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, said that “the church of Germany is bowing humbly in front of a personality who influenced the Catholic church worldwide.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement that she’s very sad about Lehmann’s death and called him one of the most prominent faces of the Catholic Church in Germany.

Merkel said that “I’m deeply grateful for our good conversations and meeting over the years.”

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