Studied, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany. Diploma in theology, University Lucerne, Switzerland, 1975. STD, University Lucerne, 1987.
Ordained priest Diocese of Basel, Switzerland, 1982. Parochial vicar St. Marien parish, Bern, 1982—1985. Research assistant, theology faculty University Lucerne, 1976—1981, instructor through rector of theological faculty, 1986—1996, honorary professor, since 1996.
Ordained bishop, 1995. Bishop Diocese of Basel, 1995—2010. President Swiss Bishops' Conference, 2007—2010.
Member Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, since 2002. Appointed archbishop (personal title), 2010. President Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome, since 2010.
Elevated to cardinal, 2010. Cardinal-deacon Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore, since 2010.