Cardinal Reinhard Marx was announced as the new leader of the German Bishop Conference – the Catholic Church’s leadership board – on Wednesday at a gathering in Münster.
He replaces 75-year-old Archbishop Robert Zollitsch who has held the post for six years but didn’t stand for election this time, stating he was too old.
Marx, who is considered conservative but not a hardliner, said he wanted to make the voice of the Catholic Church heard in Germany once again.
He said the appointment of Pope Francis had given the church new momentum. “That has to grow," the 60-year-old said.
Marx, who has a close relationship with Pope Francis, was born in North-Rhine Westphalia and was Bishop of Trier before becoming Archbishop of Munich in 2007.
He said he would spend the next few days collecting his thoughts before beginning his new role which will see him straddle the line between religion and politics.