Cardinal Agostino New Vicar for Rome

Education to Be Primary Objective of His Work

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 27, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI appointed cardinal Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Apostolic Signature, as his new vicar for the Diocese of Rome and archpriest of the Basilica St. John Lateran.

Cardinal Vallini, 68, succeeds Cardinal Camillo Ruini, 77, who presented his resignation for reasons of age. The latter had been the vicar for Rome since 1991.

The Pontiff received the two cardinals today in the Vatican, accompanied by some 400 priests and representatives of the Diocese of Rome.

Cardinal Vallini expressed in his greeting to the Pope his "sentiments of profound gratitude as well as astonishment and human trepidation for a ministry of such great responsibility and delicacy."

The cardinal underlined as his primary objective to work actively "so that the Church in Rome will be able to educate in hope, continuing with renewed vigor to proclaim the Gospel of the Risen Jesus, first fruit of our hope," and to cooperate "in the effort to render the face of this, our city, more beautiful, more human and more fraternal."

Agostino Vallini was born in 1940, in Poli, Italy, in the Diocese of Tivoli, near Rome.

He was ordained priest in 1964. He studied at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Naples before being sent to Rome in 1964 to specialize in canon law.

In 1978 he was appointed rector of the Major Seminary of Naples, an office he held until 1987. At that time he was appointed dean of the St. Thomas section of the Theological Faculty of Southern Italy.

He was named an auxiliary bishop of Naples in 1989, and then bishop of Albano in 1999.

In 2004 he was appointed prefect of the Apostolic Signature, and was promoted at the same time to the dignity of archbishop.

He was elevated to cardinal in 2006.