2007-03-08 14:55:10

Pope Benedict XVI names archbishop of Genoa as new president of Italian Bishops' Conference

(08 Mar. 2007) : Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa as the new president of the Italian bishops' conference. The 64-year-old Archbishop Bagnasco is replacing 76-year-old Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who has led the episcopal conference for an unprecedented 16 years. Angelo Bagnasco was born Jan. 14, 1943. He was ordained a priest in 1966 and appointed bishop of Pesaro in 1998, a position he held for five years. The bishop then was transferred to Genoa after more than three years as the ordinary for the Italian armed forces. He was named archbishop of Genoa in August 2006 to succeed Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who had been appointed Vatican secretary of state.

Archbishop Bagnasco thanked the Holy Father for his trust and explained that "the Italian bishops' conference is a structure of communion and service to the episcopal fraternity, for the discernment of contemporary challenges and the important pastoral orientations that are implemented by pastors in concrete diocesan situations." One of Archbishop Bagnasco's main immediate tasks will be to deal with Italy's centre-left government over its controversial plans to give legal recognition to unwed couples, including gays. The Italian Church strongly opposes the proposed bill and wants Catholic politicians to torpedo it.

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