Former Vatican spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls dead at 80

Joaquin Navarro-Valls (right) with Pope St. John Paul II. Photo image courtesy of Greg Burke via Twitter

Joaquin Navarro-Valls, a Spanish layman, who as papal spokesman for 22 years beginning in 1984 died on July 5 of pancreatic cancer, according to the Catholic News Service (July 6, 2017).

In a statement to CNS, Greg Burke, the current head of the Vatican press office, said his predecessor “always behaved like a Christian gentleman — and those can be hard to find these days.”

“Joaquin Navarro embodied what Ernest Hemingway defined as courage: grace under pressure. I got to know Navarro when I was working for Time, and the magazine named John Paul II Man of the Year. I expected to find a man of faith, but I found a man of faith who was also a first-class professional.”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, who was Navarro-Valls immediate successor as Vatican press director beginning in 2006 remembered him as a “master in the way he carried out his service.”

He was a member of Opus Dei.

For the entire CNS report, click here.

For a National Catholic Register (July 7, 2017) summary, click here.