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Swiss bishop becomes a cardinal

Kurt Koch, the former bishop of Basel, has been elevated to the rank of cardinal.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Koch along with 23 other new cardinals at St Peter’s Basilica on Saturday.

As part of the Vatican ceremony, the pope presented each man with a biretta – the red headdress worn by cardinals.

Koch has headed the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity since July, and it is tradition for the heads of pontifical councils to be cardinals.

In an interview with the Swiss News Agency on Friday, Koch promised to ensure better communication between Rome and Switzerland.

As for the split relationship of Swiss Catholics to the Vatican, Koch cited “extremely one-sided public information about Rome that didn’t correspond to reality at all”.

The consistory – the formal Vatican meeting at which new cardinals are created – continues on Sunday, when Koch and his colleagues will receive special rings.

The 60-year-old Koch is the ninth Swiss cardinal in history. Of these, three are currently in office: Henri Schwery of Valais, Gilberto Agustoni of Ticino and Georges Marie Martin Cottier of Geneva. and agencies

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