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Felix Gmür named bishop of Basel

Felix Gmür, the 44-year-old general-secretary of the Swiss Bishops Conference, will become the new bishop of Basel.

He replaces Kurt Koch, who is packing his bags for Rome after being appointed a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI at the weekend.

Gmür was chosen by an 18-head advisory council of the cantonal bishopric on September 8, but his nomination had to be approved by the pope.

Basel is Switzerland’s largest bishopric and has a history of choosing young heads. Koch was 45 when he took office in 1996 and his predecessor Hansjörg Vogel was 43 – although he had to step down 14 months later when it turned out he had a daughter.

Gmür, whose doctorate in philosophy was on the aesthetics of Ludwig Wittgenstein, will be installed on January 16, 2011, in Solothurn.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR