Walter Kasper (born 5 March 1933 in Heidenheim an der Brenz) is a German Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He currently serves as President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in the Roman Curia, and Cardinal Deacon of Ognissanti in Via Appia Nuova. An accomplished theologian, Kasper can speak in German, English, and Italian.
Born in Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany, Kasper was ordained a priest on 6 April 1957 by Bishop Carl Leiprecht of Rottenburg. From 1957 to 1958 he was a parochial vicar in a Stuttgart. He returned to his studies, and earned a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the University of Tübingen. He was a faculty member at Tübingen from 1958 to 1961, and worked for three years as an assistant to the conservative Leo Scheffczyk and the liberal Hans Küng, who was banned from teaching by the Church due to his views on contraception and papal infallibility. He later taught dogmatic theology at the Westphalian University of Münster (1964-1970), rising to become dean of the theological faculty in 1969, and then the same in Tübingen in 1970. In 1983, Kasper taught as a visiting professor at The Catholic University of America. He was editor of the Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche.
Kasper was named Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Germany's fourth largest Catholic diocese, on 17 April 1989. He was consecrated on 17 June that same year by Archbishop Oskar Saier of Freiburg im Breisgau; Bishops Karl Lehmann and Franz Kuhnle served as co-consecrators. In 1993 he and other members of the German episcopate signed a pastoral letter allowing divorced and civilly remarried German Catholics to return to the sacraments, to the disapproval of then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1994, he was named co-chair of the International Commission for Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue.