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Did the next pope just get named president of the Italian bishops?

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monsignor matteo zuppi

Il cardinale Matteo Zuppi

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 05/24/22

66-year-old Matteo Zuppi was one of the first members of the Catholic lay Community of Sant'Egidio.

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi (66), archbishop of Bologna, has been named president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) by Pope Francis, the CEI announced on Twitter on May 24, 2022.

Just this morning, the bishops offered three candidates for the Pope to choose from, and the Holy Father settled on Cardinal Zuppi, who was the first on the list. He is widely considered a possible future contender for the Throne of Peter.

He takes over from Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti (80), Archbishop of Perugia, who has been president of the Italian episcopal conference since 2017, and thus is at the end of the five-year term.

The Cardinal of Sant’Egidio

Matteo Zuppi is a spokesman for one of the most influential associations of lay Catholics in the Church: the Sant’Egidio community.

In his youth, in the 1970s, he was one of the first members of this organization committed to interreligious dialogue and peace – a specialty of the association – and earned a reputation as a “street priest.” He celebrated his 25th anniversary of priesthood just a few weeks ago, on May 9.

In the 1990s, Matteo Zuppi gave Sant’Egidio its international dimension by participating in a mediation in Mozambique, and subsequently travelled all over the world on the occasion of “prayers for peace” and other mediations. With these missions, he perfected his mastery of languages and built up an important network within and outside the Church.

In 2012, he was identified and appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, and in 2015 was chosen by the Argentine Pope to head the Archdiocese of Bologna.

He is very committed to social and humanitarian issues, one of the reasons why he was chosen by the pontiff in 2019 to join the College of Cardinals. Symbolically, Pope Francis entrusted him with the parish of Sant’Egidio, in Trastevere, where everything began for him.

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