It was my privilege to know William Montalbano well for many years when he served as the Rome bureau chief for The Times (obituary, March 20). Bill had a great love and devotion for his family and always kept me up to date on his children.
He was a most competent journalist who knew the Catholic Church well. His reporting on the activities of the church in Rome was outstanding, and he captured well the soul and spirit of Pope John Paul II.
He also understood and followed Italian politics better than most, and his reporting of Italy's complicated political systems was always clearer than any other foreign journalist's.
Bill Montalbano was a man of personal integrity, professional competence and a deep grasp of God's grace in his own life.
I shall miss him greatly, and my prayers go out to his wonderful wife and children.
CARDINAL ROGER MAHONY
Roman Catholic Archbishop
of Los Angeles