Top Vatican official heading for Australia
Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Pope's right-hand man on ecumenical issues, will visit Australia next month.
The 15 day tour, which includes 45 events, begins in Adelaide and includes Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
German-born Kasper, who is president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, is a leading world expert on how Jews, Muslims and Christians can live harmoniously post-Iraq.
In 1994 he became co-chair of the Lutheran Catholic Commission of Unity and five years later was appointed secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome.
In 2001, Cardinal Kasper became a cardinal and, within days, the Pope appointed him president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
Earlier this year as US officials tried to convince Rome to back the war against Iraq, Cardinal Kasper warned that a war "would touch the poorest of the poor, not Saddam Hussein ... women and children and sick people would have to suffer, and we should consider the destiny of such people".
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Walter Cardinal Kasper (catholic-hierarchy.org)
Cardinal Kasper sees ecumenical progress with Orthodox churches (21/2/03)
Cardinal Kasper sees new hope for ecumenical relations (14/6/02)
3 Jun 2003