Walter Kasper

Walter Kasper

infobox cardinalbiog
name = Walter Kasper

See = Rottenburg-Stuttgart (Emeritus)
Title = President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Period = March 3, 2001— present
cardinal = February 21, 2001
Predecessor = Edward Cardinal Cassidy
Successor = incumbent
post = Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart | date of birth = Birth date and age|1933|3|5|mf=y
place of birth = Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany|
infobox cardinalstyles

cardinal name=Walter Kasper
dipstyle=His Eminence
offstyle=Your Eminence
See=Rottenburg-Stuttgart (Emeritus)|

Walter Cardinal Kasper (born 5 March 1933 in Heidenheim an der Brenz) is a German prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He currently serves as President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in the Roman Curia, and Cardinal Deacon of "Ognissanti in Via Appia Nuova". An accomplished theologian, Kasper is widely considered to be a liberal and can speak in German, English, and Italian.

Early life

Born in Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany, Kasper was ordained a priest on 6 April 1957 by Bishop Carl Leiprecht of Rottenburg. From 1957 to 1958 he was a parochial vicar in a Stuttgart. He returned to his studies, and earned a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the University of Tübingen. He was a faculty member at Tübingen from 1958 to 1961, and worked for three years as an assistant to the conservative Leo Scheffczyk and the liberal Hans Küng, who was banned from teaching by the Church due to his views on contraception and papal infallibility. He later taught dogmatic theology at the Westphalian University of Münster (1964-1970), rising to become dean of the theological facutly in 1969, and then the same in Tübingen in 1970. In 1983, Kasper taught as a visiting professor at The Catholic University of America. He was editor of the Lexikon fur Theologie und Kirche.

Bishop and Cardinal

Kasper was named Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Germany's fourth largest Catholic diocese, on 17 April 1989. He was consecrated on 17 June that same year by Archbishop Oskar Saier of Freiburg im Breisgau; Bishops Karl Lehmann and Franz Kuhnle served as co-consecrators. In 1993 he and other members of the German episcopate signed a pastoral letter allowing divorced and civilly remarried German Catholics to return to the sacraments, to the disapproval of then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1994, he was named co-chair of the International Commission for Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue. On 16 March 1999, Kasper was appointed Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and resigned from his post in Rottenburg-Stuttgart on that 16 March. He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001 (along with Leo Scheffczyk), and was assigned the title of "Ognissanti in Via Appia Nuova". Later that year, on 3 March, he was appointed President of Promoting Christian Unity - and as such, President of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews - upon the retirement of Edward Idris Cassidy. He was critical of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document "Dominus Iesus", issued in 2000, which he believed was an offense to the Jewish people.

He is often criticized by conservatives for his role in ecumenism.

He is also a member of the International Theological Commission, an advisory body to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. Upon the death of John Paul II on April 2, 2005, Kasper and all major Vatican officials, in accord with custom, automatically lost their positions during the sede vacante. Kasper was later confirmed as President of Promoting Christian Unity by Pope Benedict XVI on the following April 21. He was a cardinal elector in the 2005 papal conclave. He has repeatedly led official delegations of the Vatican on the annual visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, on the occasion of the Patronal Feast of Saint Andrew. In August 2007, he was the head of the Roman Catholic delegation that participated at the funeral ceremony of the Patriarch of the Romanian Christian Orthodox Church, Teoctist.

External links

* [ Vatican profile of Kasper]
* [ Kasper's biography at]
* [ Kasper's views on "Dominus Iesus"]
* [,1518,437587,00.html "Islam is a Different Culture"] . SPIEGEL ONLINE: Interview with Cardinal Walter Kasper, September 18, 2006.

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