Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who was the Vatican's official spokesman for 22 years, said in an interview that the Church currently has one of the brightest popes in history, and that one of the most unique aspects of Benedict XVI is his confidence in the rationality of individuals.
Navarro-Valls, who worked for almost two years with Benedict XVI, was interviewed by the Spanish daily El Mundo about his work at the Vatican and some aspects of the two Popes he served under.
Speaking about Benedict XVI, he said he considers him "the Pope with the largest and most brilliant personal bibliography in all of Church history. His conceptual wealth is fascinating. And I think people also outside the Catholic circles are aware of it. "
The former Vatican spokesman does not believe that the Holy Father is a cold person. "I would say the opposite. The manner in which he is moved—which is more frequent than believed—is to not react passionately in response to things,” he said.
He also found that the most unique aspect of his Pontificate is his "confidence in the rationality of people, in their ability to seek the truth," and the great obstacle he faces is, "as he himself said a few days before he was elected pope, the dictatorship of relativism."
Regarding his time with Pope John Paul II, which he has chronicled in some 600 pages of notes, Navarro-Valls said, "A year and a half ago, an American publisher offered me a $1.5 million to write that book. The problem is partly that in recent years I have accepted a number of professional commitments that have absorbed my time. I would have to set aside all of that and spend one and a half years locked in my room in order to write that book. For me it would be a moral imperative to write it, because John Paul was much loved but not entirely known,” he said.
According to Navarro-Valls, the late Pope’s “character and person were not sufficiently known.” For example, he noted, John Paul II “had a very great sense of humor. Even when we had to deal with tragic problems never lost his positive view.”
Regarding the cause of beatification of John Paul II, Navarro-Valls said that "from a strictly technical standpoint, it could be all set before the end of the year. The two steps that remain, technically speaking, are the decree on his virtues and the declaration of a miracle, several of which have been attributed to him, with one that is particularly clear. After that, everything depends on the Holy Father."