Navarro-Valls Surmises Why the Media Are So Interested in Pope

Addresses an Academic Gathering in Honor of John Paul II

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The secret of the media's interest in John Paul II lies in his capacity "to re-establish a common system of reference," according to Vatican press office director Joaquín Navarro-Valls.



Navarro-Valls made that point Thursday during an academic event that the University of the Holy Cross dedicated to the Holy Father for the 25th anniversary of his pontificate.

"Today," Navarro-Valls said, "common systems of reference have disappeared, understood as a general framework of each age in which the words used are placed in a precise context and have meaning."

He was speaking in the capacity of a guest professor, invited by the university's School of Institutional Communication, and not as Vatican spokesman.

"This pontificate has re-created a common lexicon, which did not exist, to offer the Gospel and have the latter accepted," said Navarro-Valls. He gave as examples words such as "soul, family, God, prayer, human love and sexuality."

The speaker also underlined how the Pope with his trips has been able to transmit this system of values and offer his Christian message.

"The Pope offers a religious message, the system of truths and values of the Catholic religion which not only is of interest to the West but to all the world," he added.

Monsignor Rino Fisichella, theologian and rector of the Lateran University, focused on the Trinity as "theological horizon to understand the ministry and magisterium of this Pope."

The monsignor explained that "the Trinity makes visible that God is the center of everything, not man." John Paul II "situates his teachings in the Trinity, which is the foundation of his magisterium and where he always returns."

To understand the Holy Father, "we must always refer to 'Redemptoris Hominis,' the Pope's first encyclical, which contains his programmatic set of ideas," said Monsignor Fisichella.

The homage to John Paul II culminated with the presentation of the book "Giovanni Paolo II, Teologo: Nel Segno delle Encicliche" (John Paul II, Theologian: In the Sign of the Encyclicals), published by Mondadori.

The book comments on all the Pope's encyclicals, which are divided by subjects: Trinitarian, social, ecclesiological and anthropological. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar for Rome, wrote the prologue.