Joaquin Navarro-Valls Provided a Lesson in Papal Service


National Catholic Register, 7 July 2017

The longtime spokesman for St. John Paul II died July 5 of cancer. He was 80.

Joaquin Navarro-Valls, one of the most unusual figures in Curial history, died Wednesday and was buried Friday in Rome. St. John Paul’s longtime papal spokesman offered a most extraordinary — and successful — service, one that has lessons for today.

The Spanish psychiatrist-turned-journalist was asked by John Paul to serve as the director of the Holy See Press Office in 1984, and he remained the chief papal spokesman until the Holy Father’s death in 2005. He continued in the same role for Pope Benedict XVI until July 2006, when he retired.

It wasn’t actually the same role; the role Navarro-Valls played for John Paul could not be duplicated. He did issue media releases, preside over press conferences and manage the press office. But he did so much more than that.

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