Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar General emeritus of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome, Archpriest emeritus of the Papal Lateran Basilica, Grand Chancellor emeritus of the Pontifical Lateran University and President emeritus of "Peregrinatio ad Petri Sedem", was born on 19 February 1931 in Sassuolo, province of Modena, diocese of Reggio Emilia.
Having studied philosophy and theology in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University, as a student of the Almo Collegio Capranica, he obtained a licentiate in philosophy and theology.
He was ordained a priest on 8 December 1954. In 1957 he returned to Reggio Emilia and taught philosophy at the diocesan seminary until 1968. From 1968 until 1986 he taught dogmatic theology at the ‘Studio Teologico Interdiocesano di Modena-Reggio-Emilia-Carpi-Guastalla’, where he was also headmaster from 1968 to 1977. From 1977 to 1983 he taught dogmatic theology at the ‘Studio Teologico Accademico Bolognese’. From 1958 to 1966 he served as chaplain to Catholic University graduates and from 1966 to 1970 he served as a delegate for Catholic Action. From 1968 he was president of the John XXIII Diocesan Cultural Center.
On 16 May 1983 he was named titular Bishop of Nepte and Auxiliary of Reggio Emilia and Guastalla. He was ordained on 29 June the same year. 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 1985, he was elected member of the Bishops’ Commission for Catholic Education, Culture and School.
John Paul II, on 28 June 1986, named him Secretary General of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
Member of the Central Committee for the Marian Year 1987-1988, since 1988 he has been a consultor of the Congregation for Bishops. In October 1990, during the 8th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, he was elected member of the council of the general secretariat.
On 17 January 1991 he was named Archbishop and Pro-Vicar General of the Pope for the Diocese of Rome. Also, on 7 March 1991 he became President of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
He has published many essays and research work since 1971.
Named Vicar General of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome and Archpriest of Patriarchal (now Papal) Lateran Basilica, 1 July 1991.
Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Lateran University.
President emeritus of the Peregrinatio ad Petri Sedem (served from 29 December 1992 until 2 May 1996).
Served as relator for the Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops (28 November-14 December 1991).
Pope John Paul II reconfirmed Cardinal Ruini as President of the Italian Episcopal Conference on 7 March 1996 and then on 6 March 2001, making it his third term.
He was member of the Committee of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.
On 14 February 2006, reconfirmed President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, donec aliter provideatur, by Pope Benedict XVI. On 7 March 2007, the Holy Father accepted his resignation, upon having reached the age limit, form the office of president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
Vicar General emeritus of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome, Archpriest emeritus of the Papal Lateran Basilica, Grand Chancellor emeritus of the Pontifical Lateran University, 27 June 2008.
President of the Cultural Project of the Italian Episcopal Conference (January 2008 - January 2013).
President of the International Commission of Inquiry on Medjugorje (March 2010 - January 2014).
Former President of the academic Committee of the Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI (March 2010).
He participated in the conclave of April 2005, which elected Pope Benedict XVI.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by St. John Paul II in the Consistory of 28 June 1991, of the Title of S. Agnese fuori le mura (St. Agnes outside the Wall).