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A longtime “Vaticanista” shares his experiences

2015-03-08

After spending more than three decades writing about the Vatican for Catholic News Service, American journalist John Thavis retired. But he didn't stop working.

His first book, "The Vatican Diaries,” became a best-seller and has demystified the Vatican for readers across the globe since its 2013 release.

JOHN THAVIS
"The Vatican Diaries”
"It's probably the oldest ongoing institution on the face of the Earth, and it's got a mystery about it that attracts people's interest.”

Thavis traveled to dozens of countries aboard the Papal plane during his career. He said he grew fond of Pope John Paul II after seeing and writing about the late Pontiff for so long.

JOHN THAVIS
"The Vatican Diaries”
"It was personally engaging to see him age, number one. He had been a leader on the world scene, but we had seen him close up. He came back to talk to us on the plane. He would answer our questions. He would actually laugh at some of our jokes.” 

He also noticed that the Vatican has come to appreciate reporters more now than in the past.

JOHN THAVIS
"The Vatican Diaries”
"You used to find a lot of resistance to reporters' questions at the Vatican. Now, among most officials, there's a tendency to think, Well, there's a reason these people are asking us these questions. We should answer them.”

Following Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, Thavis singled out Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as someone to watch during the Conclave. He thinks the new Pope will enact lasting reforms.

JOHN THAVIS
"The Vatican Diaries”
"Pope Francis came in with a real mandate to change things here in the Roman Curia. I think the cardinals who elected him wanted him to move with energy. And he has done exactly that.”

Thavis is still writing about the Church and plans to publish another book about Catholicism later this year.


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