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Pope accepts resignation of Cologne archbishop for age

Germany's top conservative OK'd morning-after pill for rape

28 February, 12:30
Pope accepts resignation of Cologne archbishop for age (ANSA) - Vatican City, February 28 - Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of Cologne Archbishop Joachim Meisner for reasons of age. Cardinal Meisner, 80, who has served in Cologne since 1989, was previously bishop of Berlin from 1980 to 1989.

Created a cardinal in 1983, he is widely considered to be Germany's leading conservative Catholic figure.

Cardinal Meisner was one of the cardinal-electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave which elected the pope after Benedict XVI's shock abdication.

At Francis' inauguration, Cardinal Meisner was one of the six cardinals who made the public act of obedience on behalf of the College of Cardinals.

He turned 80 on On December 25, 2013, and lost the right to participate in future conclaves.

In February 2013 Cardinal Meisner approved the use of some morning-after pills for rape victims after he announced they did not induce abortions and could be used in Catholic hospitals. He altered his policy after two Catholic hospitals refused to treat a rape victim because they could not prescribe the pill. The Catholic Church firmly opposes abortion and artificial birth control. Many Catholics see all emergency contraceptives as abortion-inducing drugs banned by this policy, but Meisner said some prevent fertilization and could be used in rape cases.