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Spokesman reveals secrets of Pope's communications success

Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls has paid tribute to Pope John Paul II's skillful manipulation of his personal charisma to communicate the Gospel message.

Navarro-Valles, director of the Vatican Press Office, was addressing an international congress on the Church and the Media at the weekend at the Catholic University of St Anthony of Murcia.

He said the Pope has renewed the image of the papacy during the course of his 25 year pontificate.

But according to Navarro-Valls, the core of the Pope's communications success lies in his use of "ordinary language".

"[The Pope] has tried from the beginning of his pontificate to create a common system of references as an indispensable task so that the realm of Christian values can be understood today," he said. "The apparent formal difficulty of some documents and writings is due to the fact that ordinary language is not considered as a valid means of communication and, consequently, it is necessary to reason from the root, defining each term."

"His message - transmitted in an expressive variety that includes the written and spoken word and gestures - is always focused on putting a specific human being - man or woman - in contact with the transcendent God of Christian revelation."

Navarro-Valls added that the power of the Pope's presentation of issues "with vigor, conviction, and constancy" should not be underestimated.

"John Paul II is the only personality of global resonance who asks the world: 'What is a human being?' Or also: 'What does human dignity mean?'"


Holy See Press Office

21 May 2003