Vatican City, Jul 1, 2010 / 13:34 pm
Setting in concrete an appointment that was already well known, Bishop of Basel Kurt Koch has been named as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He takes the place of Cardinal Walter Kasper at the helm of the Vatican's department for ecumenical outreach.
The announcement came at noon on Thursday in a statement from the Holy See's Press Office, by which time it was little more than a formality. Bishop Koch had already given a farewell speech to his diocese on Wednesday.
Bishop Koch, who holds a doctorate in theology, was ordained to the priesthood in 1982 and then to the episcopate 14 years ago by Pope John Paul II. He was made Bishop of Basel, Switzerland at that time, a charge he has held until now. He has been a member of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity since 2002.
The former president of the Swiss bishops will take over for Cardinal Walter Kasper, who has been the council's president since 1999.