Pope Francis today named a new Archbishop of Berlin, the German archdiocese that covers the country’s capital city where Catholics are a minority at less than ten per cent of the population.
The Bishop of Dresden-Meissen, Heiner Koch, has been appointed to the post whose previous holders in recent years have been made cardinals.
Bishop Koch, who is 61 on Friday, will attend the forthcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome in October and has said that describing homosexuality as a sin is “hurtful.”
He has also indicated an openness to allowing communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.
The Bishop, who is chairman of the German bishops’ commission on marriage and family life, has extensive pastoral experience, particularly in youth ministry; he helped organise World Youth Day in Cologne, 2005.
Berlin is a cosmopolitan city with a prominent gay and lesbian community.