Cardinal Ruini, vicar for Rome, hints at retirement


Rome, Jun. 24, 2008 - Cardinal Camillo Ruini announced that his term as the Pope's vicar for the Rome diocese "has ended," as he celebrated the 25th anniversary of his episcopal ordination on June 21.

In a congratulatory message to Cardinal Ruini for the occasion, Pope Benedict XVI also hinted at the prelate's retirement, thanking the Italian cardinal "for all you have done for priests, deacons, religious, seminarians, lay groups and all the people of God in the diocese of Rome."

Although he did not refer directly to the impending resignation of Cardinal Ruini-- who has passed retirement age, and suffers from heart problems-- Pope Benedict seemed to be summarizing the work of the cardinal during his years as vicar of Rome, confirming the general perception that he will soon be replaced.

In his message the Pope included a personal note of thanks to Cardinal Ruini, a close ally, for "the dedication with which, over these years, you introduced me into the complex realities of this beloved Church."

Shortly after the cardinal's anniversary Mass, Pope Benedict met in a private audience with Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the head of the Apostolic Signatura. Although the meeting may have been coincidental, Cardinal Vallini is the prelate rumored to be Cardinal Ruini's replacement as vicar for Rome.