Italy: Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco succeeds Cardinal Ruini

Source: FSSPX News


On March 7, Benedict XVI named Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI). The Bishop of Rome and primate of Italy, the pope himself appoints the President of the Episcopal Conference, unlike other countries where the President is elected by the bishops. The Archbishop of Genoa succeeds Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who reached the age of 76 on March 6 and at the end of his third 5 year mandate. However, the cardinal, who has also been the pope’s vicar of the city of Rome since July 1, 1991, retains this office for an indeterminate period, and remains a voting member of the College of Cardinals until the age of eighty.

 Marco Politi, a Vatican expert with the daily La Repubblica, wrote: “Camillo Ruini has transformed the Italian Episcopal Conference into a political agent in the face of a political establishment which has proved itself to be extremely fragile.” “He succeeded in increasing the influence of Catholics, in spite of the demise of Christian Democracy,” “a successful revolution,” declared Corriera della Sera. This prompted Giuseppe Alberigo, the historian and repesentative of the Italian progressive movement to say: “He has made the Church into a factor of division.” “It is better to be controversial than insignificant !” retorted “Don Camillo”, “the subtle cardinal”.

 During his general audience, on the day of the announcement of Mgr. Bagnasco’s appointment, Benedict XVI stated: “Caesar is not everything. There is another sovereignty whose origin and essence are not of this world, but from Heaven: that of the Truth which lays claim from the State the right to be heard.” Before making his decision, the pope had decided to consult the 226 Italian bishops, who were invited by the nuncio of Italy, Mgr. Paolo Romeo, to give their opinion under seal.


The son of a confectioner, Angelo Bagnasco was born on January 14, 1943 at Pontevico, in the diocese of Brescia, in northern Italy. A graduate in philosophy and theology, specializing in “contemporary metaphysics and atheism”, he was ordained on June 29 1966, and carried out his ministry in a parish of the diocese of Genoa. He was nominated bishop of Pesaro in January 1998, archbishop in 2000 and archbishop Ordinary of the Military for Italy in June 2003, and he was appointed archbishop of Genoa on August 29, 2006, to succeed Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

President of the Regional Bishops’ Conference of Liguria (north) and former secretary of the  President of the Regional Episcopal Conference of Liguria (North) and former Secretary of the Italian Episcopal Commission for Education, Schools and Universities, Mgr. Angelo Bagnasco is currently a member of the Commission for Culture and Social Communications and President of the administrative council of L’Avvenire, the daily published by the Italian Episcopal Conference

 On March 5, in an interview with the daily La Repubblica, the archbishop said that Catholic values must be defended with clarity and moderation, but also with steadfastness towards the State which legislates. On the announcement of his appointment, Mgr. Bagnasco said: “When the Pope calls, one has a duty to respond.” Advocating the defense of the traditional family against the proposed Italian “gay marriage” bill, the archbishop stated to Il Giornale: “Secularity is the autonomy of the civil and political domain in relation to the religious domain, but not in relation to the moral domain.” And on March 9, to the daily Il Messaggero, he said: “We have no intention of interfering, self-interest or hegemony. We are talking about the value of the human person, and in this field, the Church has much to say.”