.- The director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, announced on Saturday during a television interview that he has submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI after 22 years at the post.
“After many years, perhaps too many, a change would do me well,” the Vatican spokesman said during an interview broadcast on the Italian channel La 7.
The Italian news agency ANSA quoted Navarro-Valls as saying, “Pope Benedict XVI knows well what my desire is because I have made it known to him with due respect.”
While he said he has not yet decided what he will do after retiring, Navarro-Valls said he is considering remaining in Italy. “I have a number of books I would like to delve into, but to dedicate myself solely to studying would require six or seven months. I don’t know if that will be my first task,” he stated.
During the interview, Navarro-Valls reminisced about great moments in the pontificate of John Paul II, singling out the meetings with Soviet leader Mikail Gorbachov and Mother Teresa of Calcutta among his most intense experiences with the Polish pope.
He said Pope Benedict’s visit to the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz during his recent trip to Poland should be considered an important milestone and changed his view of the Jewish Holocaust.
“Personally I think that after the visit by a German pope, the way we see Auschwitz and Birkenau changes, and we need to remember that beautiful discourse and the images of Benedict XVI at the extermination camp,” Navarro-Valls stated.
One name being discussed as a potential successor is “Il Messagerro” writer Orazio Petrosillo. According to Italian news agency, “Affari Italiani”, the Vatican Curia has a good opinion of Petrosillo and he could be appointed to replace Navarro-Valls or he could be named director of L'Osservatore Romano to replace current director, Mario Agnes, who has been in charge of the Vatican’s paper since 1984. The news agency reports that Agnes has also unofficially announced his desire to retire.
Affari Italiani’s source indicated that the Holy See will probably offer Navarro-Valls a position as a Vatican representative to an international organization, due to his experience and doctrinal firmness in dealing with international forums such as the Population Conference of Cairo and the Beijing Women's Conference.