Pope names new head of ecumenical relations office
(AP) – 12 hours ago
VATICAN CITY — The pope has named a Swiss bishop with experience dealing with Orthodox and Lutheran churches to head the Vatican office responsible for relations with other Christians and Jews.
Archbishop Kurt Koch replaces Cardinal Walter Kasper as head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. Kasper, 77, is retiring.
Koch, 60, has been Basel’s bishop for nearly 15 years, and has served as a member of the pontifical council since 2002. In a statement Thursday, he said a “credible and sincere” ecumenical dialogue had long been close to his heart.
Kasper had headed the office since 2001, and was often put in the position of defusing Vatican standoffs with Jews such as when the pope lifted the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop.
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