The former director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said he was not surprised by the success of Pope Benedict XVI’s book, “Jesus of Nazareth,” and said, “In my opinion, the center, the principal focal point of this pontificate is what I would call the ministry of the intellect.
At a time in which there is great confusion in all levels of conception, the Pope is carrying out a stupendous ministry to the intellect, with extraordinary conceptual richness, and people are very sensitive to this. They have understood the value of the word the Pope is offering to all humanity,” Navarro-Valls said during an interview with Vatican Radio.
For Navarro Valls, “the book is part of this ministry to the intellect. Obviously there are very beautiful pages, of even an aesthetic nature; but it is conceptually very rich. How can I explain it? For Catholics it’s not enough to accept the divinity of Jesus; it’s also necessary to reflect on the meaning of the historical Jesus,” he said.
“An effort to clarify, to rationalize—a word often repeated by the Pope in this book—is needed,” Navarro Valls continued. “There is rationality of the faith in this pontificate, which was implicit in some way in the enormous body of work of Cardinal Ratzinger and is naturally confirmed in his pontificate.
“This kind of message is very current. It’s like an enormous catechesis but at a higher level that the people understand, that they follow, that the people feel they have understood. Returning to the book, many pages confirm what we are saying. I think it is precisely this that the people appreciate,” he said.
“To be honest, I must say I am not the least bit surprised at the initial success of this book, which will surely be a success in the long run,” the former Vatican spokesman said.