He was ordained a priest that year. He was a member of the International Theological Commission from 1986 to 2002, and also a member of the National Ethics Consultative Committee of France from 1998 to 2000.
Pope John Paul II named him bishop of Angers in 2000. Bishop Bruguès was president of the doctrinal commission of the French episcopal conference from 2002 to 2006.
He has been a consultant for the Vatican congregations for Catholic Education and Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.