MUNICH -- Cardinal Leo Scheffczyk, a conservative theologian who due to his age did not participate in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI in April, has died, his office said yesterday. He was 85.
In a telegram, the pope praised Cardinal Scheffczyk for his contributions to the study of theology, which include 80 published books.
''He dedicated his rich, priestly, and academic life . . . to the depths of theology and proclamation of the truth of God," the pope said. ''Through his unwavering faith as well as his human qualities and modesty, he remains a luminous example to his many pupils and many faithful."
Cardinal Scheffczyk was elevated to the rank of cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.
Born in 1920 in the northeastern German city of Beuthen, which is now Bytom, Poland, Cardinal Scheffczyk moved to Bavaria following the end of World War II. There he began his theology studies, first in Freising and later at the University of Munich. He became a professor of theology, teaching for 20 years at Munich University's Theology Faculty, where the pope also earned his doctoral degree.
The focus of much of Cardinal Scheffczyk's study was Roman Catholic doctrine, including a 1996 eight-volume book on ''Catholic Dogma" that was published with his student Anton Ziegenaus and became a standard work of the Catholic Church.