The Italian Episcopal Conference (Italian: Conferenza Episcopale Italiana) or CEI is the episcopal conference of the Italian bishops of the Catholic Church, the official assembly of the bishops in Italy.
The conference was founded in 1971 and carries out certain tasks and has the authority to set the liturgical norms for the Mass. Episcopal conferences receive their authority under universal law or particular mandates. Its president has been Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti since his appointment by Pope Francis in 2017.
It is the only episcopal conference for which the pope appoints the president and secretary-general. In almost all other conferences the president is elected, while the secretary-general is elected in all others.[a]
At the beginning of his papacy in 2013, Pope Francis considered having the CEI membership elect its own president and secretary-general, a proposal that was once considered and abandoned by Pope John Paul II. In 2017, adopting a new procedure, the CEI members elected three candidates for president and submitted them to the pope, who was free to choose one of them or someone else.
Pope Francis repeatedly urged the CEI bishops to organize a national synod as discussed at their conference in Florence in 2015, first though surrogates and then himself inviting them to undertake a synod, eventually telling them in January 2021 that it was their duty and the time had come. The conference leadership submitted their synod proposal to him a month later.
The official that deals with the day-to-day affairs of the Conference is the secretary-general.