Navarro Valls Recalls John Paul II's Time With God

Affirms Pope Always Said ‘Yes’ to Suggestions From on High

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By Nerea Rodríguez del Cuerpo

BARCELONA, Spain, MAY 6, 2010 ( For Pope John Paul II, being with God was the most important part of the day, and the “most natural thing in the world.”

Joaquín Navarro Valls, psychiatrist, journalist and former director of the Vatican press office, said this today when he spoke of the Polish Pontiff, whom he served as spokesman from 1984 to his death.

Navarro Valls spoke of the Pope in the context of an acceptance speech for an honorary doctorate from Barcelona’s International University of Cataluña.

At the ceremony, Salvador Aragonés explained the accomplishments of Navarro Valls, highlighting his “professionalism and credibility” guiding the Vatican press office from 1984 to 2006. According to Aragonés, the spokesman’s credibility was rooted in a “true friendship with the then Pope, John Paul II.”

Navarro Valls’ address centered on John Paul II. He said of the Pope: “His great masterpiece was that which he accomplished in himself, in his interior: to have always maintained that interior flexibility that enabled him to say ‘yes’ to all of the requirements and suggestions that in every moment of his life, he welcomed from on High.”

After recounting some personal experiences with the Polish Pontiff, Navarro Valls affirmed that “in him could be seen the intellectual richness of a theologian and the spontaneous innocence of a little boy.”

“His spirituality was attractive and pleasant, apostolic and ever convincing,” the former Vatican spokesman said. “During his day, being with God was his greatest passion, and the most natural thing in the world.”

In living beside the Pope, he recounted, “it was made evident that God is not a set of rules, but a person. To God, one can entrust his very existence; to a set of rules, not even one day.”

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