Camillo Ruini

Camillo Cardinal Ruini (born February 19, 1931) is an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church. He served as Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome from 1991 to 2008 He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1991.

He was very active in the mass media and was one of the cardinals who most often appeared on Italian television, newspapers and magazines. On February 14, 2006, he was confirmed as president of the Italian Episcopal Conference by Pope Benedict XVI a post at which he served until March 2007.


Ruini was born in Sassuolo, Emilia-Romagna. Having studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, he obtained a licentiate in philosophy and a licentiate in sacred theology.

He was ordained to the priesthood on December 8, 1954, by Archbishop Luigi Traglia. In 1957 he returned to Reggio Emilia and taught philosophy at the diocesan seminary until 1968. From 1958 to 1966 he served as chaplain to university graduates and from 1966 to 1970 he served as a delegate for Azione Cattolica.

Among his teaching posts, from 1968 until 1986 he taught dogmatic theology at the Studio Teologico Interdiocesano of Modena-Reggio Emilia-Carpi-Guastalla, where he was also headmaster from 1968 to 1977.

On May 16, 1983, he was named auxiliary bishop of Reggio Emilia and titular bishop of Nepte , and was consecrated a bishop by Bishop Gilberto Baroni the following June 29. As vice president of the Preparatory Committee, he contributed to the realization of the Ecclesial Convention of Loreto (1985), which has become a reference point in the dialogue between the Church and Italian society following the wounds of the 1960s and 1970s.

In June 1986 the Pope named him secretary-general of the Italian bishops' conference. Since 1988 he has been a consultor of the Congregation for Bishops. In January 1991 he was named auxiliary bishop and pro-vicar general for the Diocese of Rome. In March 1991 he became president of the Italian bishops' conference. He was elevated to Cardinal Priest of the Title of Sant'Agnese fuori le mura in June 1991, and was named vicar general of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome and archpriest of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano in July 1991. He is also grand chancellor of the Lateran University and Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

In addition to serving as the Cardinal Vicar, Cardinal Ruini served in the Roman Curia as a member of the Congregation for Bishops, the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, and the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

Ruini was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI. Ruini remains eligible to participate in any future papal conclaves that begin before his 80th birthday on February 19, 2011.


Camillo Ruini was seen as a conservative, close to the positions of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. He was very active in the mass media, and was the strongest voice of the Church against the spring 2005 referendum for the abolition of parts of Italy's laws on artificial insemination. He commented, like Pope Benedict XVI, upon the issue of the 1999 French Pacte civil de solidarité for unmarried couples of the same or opposite sex. In 2007 a bill was proposed in the Italian Senate for a law on civil unions. The bishops conference opposed this proposal..


On 7 March 2007 Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco to succeed Cardinal Ruini as President of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

Ruini remained vicar for the diocese of Rome until 27 June 2008, when his resignation, for reasons of age, from that post and from that of Archpriest of the Basilica of St. John Lateran was accepted and Cardinal Agostino Vallini was appointed as his successor.


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