In a letter to Mario Agnes, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his deep gratitude to the head of the Vatican newspaper, "L'Osservatore Romano." Agnes held the position of editor-in-chief of the paper beginning in 1984 until recently when he announced his retirement.
Agnes has received praise from both Pope Benedict as well as from Pope John Paul II during his time of service due to “the coherent Christian commitment, love for the Church and exemplary faithfulness to the Magisterium" that have accompanied Agnes' "testimony as a believer." The Pope also highlighted his desire to always show “particular interest for the written communication of the Christian message."
Along with his duties as director, Agnes worked as diocesan president of Catholic Action. In this position, he desired "to give the Catholic lay presence a higher profile in the mass media forum." He also served as president of the "Avvenire" publishing group. The Pope highlighted his efforts "in dealing with the various themes associated with Italian ecclesial, cultural and political life."
In concluding his letter, The Holy Father reiterated his "sincere respect and profound gratitude" and included Mario Agnes among the Gentlemen of His Holiness.