The director of the Holy See press office, Joaqun Navarro-Valls, resigned from his post after 22 years of service on 11 July. Spanish-born Navarro-Valls trained in medicine and journalism and was appointed director in 1984 by Pope John Paul II. As a close friend of the late pope, he provided emotionally-charged information to the press during John Paul IIs final illness. Pope Benedict XVI confirmed Navarro-Valls position as director on his election in April, but Navarro-Valls put in a request to resign in June. I am very grateful to the Holy Father for having accommodated my repeated desire to leave the post of director of the press office to the Holy See after so many years, Navarro-Valls said in a statement. I know I have received in these years much more than I could have given, or even than I am now fully capable of understanding.

Navarro-Valls, a member of Opus Dei, will be replaced by the Jesuit Rev. Federico Lombardi. Lombardi is director general of both Vatican Radio and Vatican Television Centre, having worked as programme director at Vatican Radio from 1991 to 2005. He will continue in his current capacity as well as taking on the directorship of the press office, effectively heading up all of the Vaticans media-related operations.