Thursday, January 24, 2008

Papal Secrets for Getting the Message Out

Navarro Valls Analyzes Communication of Benedict XVI and John Paul II

By Mercedes de la Torre

ROME, JAN. 24, 2008 ( Benedict XVI is an extraordinary communicator, says a former Vatican spokesman, and his message is just what people want to hear.

Joaquín Navarro Valls, the director of the Vatican press office from 1984 to 2006, was known for years as the face and voice behind Vatican news, especially during the final illness of Pope John Paul II.

He told ZENIT that there is a secret behind the efficient communication of both John Paul II and Benedict XVI: their message.

"The problem of problems in all communication is having something to say, and then, in second place, knowing how to develop a semantic, an adequate way of saying what you want to say," Navarro Valls said.

"Both these elements in John Paul II were extraordinary," he affirmed. "He had a great human message about human and Christian values to communicate to the world, and he did this in an extraordinarily efficacious way, and quite simply, this was what produced this phenomenon during the years of his long pontificate, […] the fascination that public opinion felt toward him, which was the consequence, I insist, of what he said and of how he said it."

Navarro Valls described Benedict XVI's pontificate as a "great pastoral care of the intelligence."

He clarified: "[Benedict XVI] has a great conceptual richness, such a wealth of content in his way of explaining things, that he is clarifying for an entire generation, for an entire age of humanity, many basic concepts, concepts that people no longer understood, such as, for example, when he speaks of human love or human dignity, etc.

"He is doing this in an extraordinary way, addressing himself directly to the intelligence of people, and I think the reaction that is being seen in many environments around the world is simply to say: 'This is what we want to hear, what is current in this moment, what this cultural moment needs.'"

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