Vatican Spokesman Given a Journalism Prize

ROME, JUNE 9, 2005 ( Joaquín Navarro Valls, director of the Vatican press office, was awarded the St. Vincent Prize for Journalism by the president of Italy.

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President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi described the Vatican spokesman as a person «who for years was beside an extraordinary man who has marked the history of the contemporary world: John Paul II.»

«The grief over his death has not been extinguished in all of us,» said the president today with tears in his eyes.

Ciampi recalled that Pope John Paul II gave the world «an extraordinary example of modern communication, opening a dialogue with young people, surmounting the differences of generation, custom, ethnicity and religions.»

The journalism award, one of the most prestigious in Europe, is conferred by the autonomous region of Val d’Aosta, under the patronage of the president of the Italian republic, with the endorsement of the National Federation of the Italian Press and the College of Journalists.

Navarro Valls told the newspaper Il Secolo d’Italia will he continue in his post under Benedict XVI’s pontificate.

The spokesman, who took up his post in 1984 at the request of John Paul II, added: «It is not easy to say ‘no’ to a Pope.»

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