Cardinal of Cologne Joachim Meisner told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper this week that he wanted to see German women having more babies rather than leaving the home to develop careers and earn money.
He said all-day schools and child care were not a problem for him, but suggested, "It would be better for society to create a climate where women had more children. That means promoting the high value of the family with mother and father for the children. Of course the material security of the wife, for her later pension too, must be secured."
He said he had experienced what he called a one-sided tragedy growing up in communist East Germany - where he said women who stayed at home to look after children were told they were demented. He said child care was invented to free up women for the workforce.
When it was suggested to him that women wanted to experience careers and develop themselves at the workplace, Meisner said, "Not all" and criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel's policy of encouraging young foreign workers to come to Germany.
"Where are women really publicly encouraged to stay at home and have three or four children? One should intervene here and not - as Mrs Merkel does currently - present immigration as the solution to our demographic problem.
"We cannot take the young people away from Portugal and Spain and thus rob their countries of their future just out of egotism. We should train these unemployed people and offer them perspectives, but then allow them to return home where they are needed."
Meisner, who is about to turn 80, and will retire soon, attracted attention previously when he appeared to compare abortion in Germany with the Holocaust.
When asked about this in the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper, he said: "I called things for what they were - situations where people put themselves in charge of life. We are a dying people yet we have a perfect legal framework for abortion. Is that not the suicide of a society? At best one also wants the women out of the family so that production can continue. One cannot get children with money alone."