Kurt Koch

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His Eminence

Kurt Koch
President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Kurt Koch par Claude Truong-Ngoc decembre 2016.jpg
Appointed1 July 2010
Predecessor Walter Kasper
Other posts Cardinal-Deacon of Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore
Orders
Ordination20 June 1982
by  Otto Wüst
Consecration6 January 1996
by  Pope John Paul II
Created cardinal20 November 2010
by Pope Benedict XVI
RankCardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Birth nameKurt Koch
Born (1950-03-15) 15 March 1950 (age 68)
Emmenbrücke, Switzerland
NationalitySwiss
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
Motto Latin: Ut sit in omnibus Christus primatum tenens
Coat of arms Coat of arms of Kurt Koch.svg
Styles of
Kurt Koch
Coat of arms of Kurt Koch.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Basel (Emeritus)

Kurt Koch (born 15 March 1950) is a Swiss prelate of the Catholic Church. He has been a cardinal since November 2010 and President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity since 1 July 2010. He was the bishop of Basel from 1996 until 2010.

Switzerland federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western, central, and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva.

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) is a pontifical council whose origins are associated with the Second Vatican Council which met intermittently from 1962 to 1965.

Contents

Personal background

Koch was born in Emmenbrücke in the canton of Lucerne. He studied theology at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich and at the University of Lucerne, graduating in 1975 with a Doctor of Theology degree. He was ordained to the priesthood on 20 June 1982.

Emmen, Switzerland Place in Lucerne, Switzerland

Emmen is a village and municipality in the district of Hochdorf in the canton of Lucerne in Switzerland. The municipality Emmen consists of the village Emmen, the town Emmenbrücke, and several hamlets.

University of Lucerne university

The University of Lucerne is a public university with a campus in Lucerne, Switzerland. 1,460 undergraduates and 1,258 postgraduate students attend the university, which makes it Switzerland's smallest university.

Doctor of Theology is a terminal degree in the academic discipline of theology. The ThD is an advanced research degree equivalent to the Doctor of Philosophy.

Basel

Koch was appointed Bishop of Basel on December 6, 1995. He received episcopal consecration on 6 January 1996 from John Paul II himself, with Archbishops Giovanni Battista Re and Jorge María Mejía serving as co-consecrators. [1]

Giovanni Battista Re Italian cardinal

Giovanni Battista Re is an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church whose service has been primarily in the Roman Curia. He was elevated to the rank of cardinal in 2001. He is the Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops, having retired on 30 June 2010. As the senior Cardinal-Bishop to attend the March 2013 conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI's successor, he chaired the conclave. Pope Francis approved his election as Sub-Dean of the College of Cardinals on 10 June 2017.

Jorge María Mejía Argentine cardinal

Jorge María Mejía was an Argentine cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

Consecrator bishop who makes a person into a priest or another bishop

In the Roman Catholic Church, a consecrator is a bishop who ordains a priest to the episcopal state. The term is also used in Eastern Rite Churches and in Anglican communities.

When a group of Swiss intellectuals and theologians called for John Paul's resignation on 20 May 2004, his 84th birthday, Koch described it as "disgusting and disloyal". [2] In 2006, [3] he supported Muslim's freedom to build minarets in Switzerland, but also asked for greater religious freedom for Christians in Muslim countries. [4]

Intellectual people who primarily use intelligence in either a professional or an individual capacity

An intellectual is a person who engages in critical thinking, research, and reflection about society, proposes solutions for its normative problems and gains authority as a public figure. Coming from the world of culture, either as a creator or as a mediator, the intellectual participates in politics either to defend a concrete proposition or to denounce an injustice, usually by rejecting, producing or extending an ideology, or by defending a system of values.

Theology Study of the nature of deities and religious belief

Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries.

Minaret distinctive architectural feature of mosques

Minaret, from Arabic: منارة‎ manarah, also known as Goldaste, is a type of tower typically found built into or adjacent to mosques. Minarets serve multiple purposes. While they provide a visual focal point, they are generally used for the Muslim call to prayer (Adhan). The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, a cap and head. They are generally a tall spire with a conical or onion-shaped crown. They can either be free-standing or taller than the associated support structure. The architecture, function, and role of the minaret vary by region and time period.

On 27 June 2007, Koch, along with several other Catholic prelates, attended a briefing from the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, at the Apostolic Palace on Pope Benedict XVI's forthcoming allowing wider celebration of the Tridentine Mass. [5]

Cardinal Secretary of State presides over Secretariat of State of the Holy See

The Secretary of State of His Holiness The Pope, commonly known as the Cardinal Secretary of State, presides over the Holy See Secretariat of State, which is the oldest and most important dicastery of the Roman Curia. The Secretariat of State performs all the political and diplomatic functions of the Holy See and the Vatican City. The Secretary of State is sometimes described as the prime minister of the Holy See, even though the nominal head of government of Vatican City is the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.

Tarcisio Bertone cardinal of the Catholic Church

Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone is an Italian prelate and a Vatican diplomat. A cardinal of the Catholic Church, he served as Archbishop of Vercelli from 1991 to 1995, as Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was Prefect, Archbishop of Genoa from 2002 to 2006, and as Cardinal Secretary of State from 2006 to 2013. Bertone was elevated to the cardinalate in 2003. On 10 May 2008, he was named Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati.

Apostolic Palace official residence of the Pope in Vatican City

The Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the pope, the head of the Catholic Church, located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Papal Palace, the Palace of the Vatican and the Vatican Palace. The Vatican itself refers to the building as the Palace of Sixtus V, in honor of Pope Sixtus V, who built most of the present form of the palace.

In July 2007, Koch defended the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's document "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church." He acknowledged that the document could appear confusing or hurtful to Protestants. He said the document's reception showed the difference between the ecumenical goals of Catholics and the Orthodox on the one hand and that of Protestants on the other. [6]

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the oldest among the nine congregations of the Roman Curia. It was founded to defend the church from heresy; today, it is the body responsible for promulgating and defending Catholic doctrine. Formerly known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, it is informally known in many Catholic countries as the Holy Office, and between 1908 and 1965 was officially known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office.

Ecumenism Cooperation between Christian denominations

The term "ecumenism" refers to efforts by Christians of different Church traditions to develop closer relationships and better understandings. The term is also often used to refer to efforts towards the visible and organic unity of different Christian denominations in some form.

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 200–260 million members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

Koch was President of the Swiss Episcopal Conference from 2007 until 2010. He is a member of the Swiss Council of Religions.

Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

Pope Benedict XVI announced the appointment of Koch as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on 1 July 2010, taking over from Cardinal Walter Kasper. [7] [8] Koch was made archbishop as well. He commented: "The Holy Father told me in February, in a personal audience, his desire that I would begin to lead this council. It is a great joy for me because ecumenism has always been in my heart since in my country, Switzerland, Protestants are very close to us and I have also had a particular interest in the Orthodox Churches." [9]

On 16 October 2010, Pope Benedict appointed Koch as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for a five-year renewable term. [10]

On 20 October 2010, Pope Benedict XVI made him Cardinal-Deacon of Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore.[ citation needed ]

On 29 December 2010, Koch was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. [11]

Koch headed the Vatican's delegation to Istanbul, Turkey to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Patriarch Bartholomew I, for the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle on 30 November 2010 (the Patriarchate sends a delegation each year in turn for the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul on 29 June). He co-presided over a meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church in Vienna, Austria in September 2010 with Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon.

On 4 May 2011 Pope Benedict appointed Koch a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The five-year term will be renewed until his 80th birthday.

In his role as president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Koch spoke to reporters on 16 May 2011, after delivering a speech on Catholic-Jewish relations in light of Vatican II's declaration Nostra aetate on the church's relations with non-Christian religions. The speech followed Koch's participation in a meeting of the doctrinal congregation to examine the latest progress in the Vatican's reconciliation talks with the traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X. "There are questions to clarify in discussions with this community. I can't say more than that", he told reporters, echoing a Vatican statement saying the reconciliation talks are ongoing. Koch noted that "All the doctrinal decisions of the church are binding on a Catholic, including the Second Vatican Council and all its texts", Koch said when asked if the SSPX would be expected to accept all the teachings of Vatican II. "The Nostra aetate declaration of the Second Vatican Council is a clear decree and is important for every Catholic", he added. [12]

16 May 2012, Koch gave the Pope John Paul II Lecture on Interreligious Understanding at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum). Koch spoke on the theme of "Building on Nostra aetate: 50 Years of Christian-Jewish Dialogue".

On 30 October 2012, Koch stated in an interview that, if Lutherans express a wish for an arrangement similar to the personal ordinariates for former Anglicans, the Catholic Church will have to reflect on it, but that the initiative must come from Lutherans. [13] [14]

He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis.

On Saturday, 30 November 2013, Pope Francis named Cardinal Koch a Member of the Congregation for Catholic Education. [15] He was appointed a member of the Congregation for Bishops. [16]

Views

Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics

Cardinal Koch has been a strong opponent of allowing divorced and remarried Catholics receiving communion. In an interview with the German newspaper Die Tagespost, Koch compared Church leaders who wanted to change the Church's teaching on this issue to German Catholics who tried to adapt their faith to make it compatible with Nazism. [17]

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References

  1. http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/bkoch.html
  2. "Swiss bishops denounce calls for Pope to retire". Catholic News Agency. 20 May 2004. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  3. "Ich würde den Muslimen zugestehen, ein Minarett zu haben" (in German). Neue Zürcher Zeitung. 7 September 2006. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  4. "Swiss bishop comes out in favour of minarets". Swissinfo. 3 September 2006. Retrieved 16 May 2011. The problem is really not the strength of Islam but the weakness of Christianity. If we were to go back to our roots and stand behind our convictions we could approach other religions more openly.
  5. Thavis, John (29 June 2007). "Pope meets bishops, discusses decision on pre-Vatican II liturgy". Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  6. Wooden, Cindy (11 July 2007). "Protestant groups dismayed at new document on identity of 'church'". Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on 14 August 2007. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  7. "Rinuncia del Presidente del Pontificio Consiglio per la Promozione dell'Unità dei Cristiani e Nomina del Successore" (in Italian). Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office. 1 July 2010. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  8. "WCC welcomes Vatican's new chief ecumenist". World Council of Churches. 30 June 2010. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  9. Villa, Carmen Elena (13 July 2010). "Why a Swiss Bishop for the Unity Council". ZENIT. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  10. "Nomina di Membri della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede" (in Italian). Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office. 16 October 2010. Archived from the original on 20 October 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  11. "Nomina di Cardinali Membri dei Dicasteri della Curia Romana" (in Italian). Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office. 29 December 2010. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  12. catholicnews.com at the Library of Congress Web Archives(archived 2012-12-05)
  13. "Progressives and traditionalists suffer from the same ailment". Zenit News Agency . Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  14. "Vatican cardinal opens door to Lutheran ordinaraites". catholiccultre.org. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  15. http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2013/11/30/0795/01791.html
  16. press.vatican.va
  17. http://voiceofthefamily.info/wordpress/?p=863
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Hansjörg Vogel
Bishop of Basel
1995–2010
Succeeded by
Felix Gmür
Preceded by
Amédée Grab
President of the Swiss Episcopal Conference
2007–2010
Succeeded by
Norbert Brunner
Preceded by
Walter Cardinal Kasper
President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
1 July 2010–present
Incumbent