.- Benedict XVI has sent a Letter to Cardinal Camillo Ruini thanking him for his long service as president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI). On March 7, the Pope accepted Cardinal Ruini's resignation from office and appointed in his place Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa.
In his Letter, which is dated March 23, the Holy Father expresses his gratitude for the Cardinal's labors over more than 15 years as head of the CEI and, prior to that, as secretary of the organization.
How can we forget," the Pope writes, "that you guided the Italian bishops through a delicate and crucial stage of the history of the Italian people? Over these years your courage and tenacity in supporting the Church's activities have provided a service not only to the People of God but to the entire Italian nation. May God bring the multiple initiatives begun by the Church in Italy to full maturation."
For his part, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., has sent a message of congratulation to Archbishop Bagnasco, the new president of the CEI. Cardinal Bertone calls upon the Lord to support and illuminate Archbishop Bagnasco in his new office, that he may "help his brother bishops of the Church in Italy to grow in full communion between themselves and with Peter's Successor."