Basel Bishop Koch is the Vatican’s new church unity head

 — July 1, 20101 juil. 2010

The Vatican has officially confirmed the appointment of Swiss Bishop Kurt Koch to replace Cardinal Walter Kasper as head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, after widespread speculation that such a move was to take place.

A Vatican announcement on 1 July said that Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the resignation of 77-year-old-Kasper and had named in his place Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel, aged 60.

German-born Kasper became president of the pontifical council in 2001, having served two years as its secretary. He took part in the 1999 signing of a joint declaration on the doctrine of justification, a major agreement between the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church.

“We stood up from our separate tables and embraced – a spontaneous act of celebration,” recalled LWF general secretary the Rev. Ishmael Noko in a 1 July statement. “We knew that this was not only a warm personal moment but also the beginning of a new level of reconciliation for our churches.”

The Vatican announcement followed media reports the previous day citing a letter by Koch to members of his diocese announcing his imminent move to Rome.

The appointments included that of Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, aged 66, archbishop of Québec, to be president of the Congregation for Bishops, which helps the pontiff select bishops. Another appointment was that of Italian Bishop Salvatore Fisichella to head a new Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation.

Pope Benedict said on 28 June that this body had been created to work in Western societies with long-standing Christian traditions but which, are now experiencing “a progressive secularisation of the society and a kind of eclipse of God.”

“The new evangelisation will try to speak to countries that still believe, but where indifference, estrangement from the Church and ethical relativism are growing,” the Milan-based Corriere della Sera newspaper quoted Fisichella as saying on 1 July.

Posted: July 1, 2010 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: Catholic, Kurt Koch, Vatican, Walter Kasper
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Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Catholic, Kurt Koch, Vatican, Walter Kasper

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