Pope John Paul II's testament
Text of Pope John Paul II's testament
Friday, April 8, 2005
VATICAN CITY (AFP) - The Vatican on Thursday released the text of the last will and testament of Pope John Paul II.
Following is an unofficial translation of the document from the Italian text released by the Vatican, which appeared to be unfinished notes and thoughts originally drafted in Polish, the pope's native language. Notes from the Vatican are included in brackets.
The text reflects the style and punctuation of the pope, as well as his exact phraseology.
Totus Tuus ego sum. (I am entirely yours)
In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen
"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come" -- these words remind me of the final summons, which will happen at the time God wills. I wish that I may follow Him and that every part of my life prepare me for that moment. I do not know when it will occur, but as with everything, I place this moment also in the hands of the Mother of my Master: Totus Tuus. In the same maternal hands I leave everything and everyone to whom I have been connected by my life and my vocation. In these Hands, I leave above all the Church, and also my nation and all of humanity. I thank everyone. To everyone, I ask forgiveness. I also ask for prayer, for the Mercy of God to show itself to be greater than my weakness and my unworthiness.
During spiritual exercises, I have re-read the testament of the Holy Father Paul VI. This reading has impelled me to write this present testament.
I leave behind me no property that needs to be disposed of. As for the objects of daily use that served me, I ask that they be distributed as seems appropriate. May my personal notes be burnt. I ask that this matter be attended to by Don Stanislaw, whom I thank for his collaboration and for such prolonged and comprehensive help over the years. All other gratitude, however, I keep in my heart before God himself, because they are difficult to express.
As for the funeral, I repeat the same arrangements that were given by the Holy Father Paul VI. (Vatican: "Here a note in the margin: a tomb in the ground, not in a sarcophagus, 13.3.1992).
"apud Dominum misericordia
et copiosa apud Eum redemptio"
John Paul pp. II
(In the house of the Lord, mercy, and great is the redemption therein)
After death, I ask for Holy Masses and prayers.
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I express the deepest faith that, despite all my weakness, the Lord will give me every necessary grace to face according to His will whatever duty, trial, and suffering that He may ask of His servant throughout life. I also have faith that He will never allow me through any of my acts -- words, works, or omissions -- to betray my obligations in this Holy See of Peter.
Also during these spiritual exercises I have reflected on the truth of Ministry of Christ in the expectation of that transition which for each of us is the moment of our death. From the departure from this world -- to be born in the other, the future world, an eloquent sign ŽVatican: added above: decisiveŻ for us is the Resurrection of Christ.
I have therefore read the entry of my testament last year, also made during the spiritual exercises -- I compared it to the testament of my great Predecessor and Father Paul VI, with that sublime testimony on the death of a Christian and of a pope -- and I renewed in myself the awareness of questions to which the entry of 6.III.1979 prepared by me (in a rather provisional way) refers.
Today I wish to add to it only this: that each of us has to keep in mind the prospect of death. And has to be ready to present himself before the Lord and the Judge -- and at the same time, Redeemer and Father. So, I too take this into consideration constantly, entrusting that decisive moment to the Mother of Christ and of the Church -- to the Mother of my hope.
The times in which we live are inexpressibly difficult and restless. Difficult and tense also has become the life of the Church, in a characteristic trial of our times -- as much for the Faithful as for the Pastors. In some Countries (for example like the one of which I have read during the spiritual exercises), the Church finds itself in a period of persecution no less than that of the first centuries, in fact it surpasses it in its degree of ruthlessness and hate. Sanguis martyrum semen christianorum. (the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity). And in addition, thousands of people disappear innocently, even in this Country in which they live...
I want once again to totally entrust myself to the grace of the Lord. He will decide when and how I have to finish my earthly life and my pastoral ministry. In life and in death Totus Tuus through the Immaculate. Accepting already even now this death, I hope that Christ will give me the grace for the last passage, that is (my) Easter. I also hope that this is of use for this most important cause that I seek to serve: the salvation of mankind, the safeguarding of the human family, including all nations and peoples (amongst them I turn in a particular way my own earthly homeland), of use also to the people that in a particular way have entrusted me with questions concerning the Church, for the glory of God Himself.
I do not wish to add anything to what I wrote a year ago -- only to express that readiness and at the same time that faith, to which these spiritual exercises have again disposed me.
John Paul II
Totus Tuus ego sum
During the spiritual exercises of this year, I (repeatedly) re-read the text of the testament of 6.III.1979. Although I still consider it temporary (not final), I leave in its current form. I change (for the time being) nothing, and neither do I add anything, concerning the arrangements contained in them.
The attempt on my life of 13.V.1981 in some way has confirmed the truth of the words written in the period of spiritual exercises of 1980 (24.II-1.III).
I feel even more profoundly that I am totally in the Hands of God -- and I remain continuously at the service of my Lord, entrusting myself to Him in His Immaculate Mother (Totus Tuus).
John Paul II
In connection with the last phrase of my testament of 6.III.1979 ("On the location/ the location that is of the funeral/ the College of Cardinals and Compatriots will decide) I clarify what I have in mind: the archbishop of Krakow and the General Council of the Episcopate of Poland -- I ask the College of Cardinals in the meantime to satisfy as far as possible the eventual demands of those listed.
1.III.1985 (during the spiritual exercises)
Again -- regarding the expression "College of Cardinals and Compatriots": the "College of Cardinals" has no obligation to consult "the Compatriots" on this question; it can nonetheless do so if for any reason it finds it appropriate.
The spiritual exercises of the jubilee year 2000
1. When on October 16 1978 the conclave of cardinals chose John Paul II, the primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski told me: "the task of the new pope will be to introduce the Church to the third millennium. I don't know if I repeat the phrase exactly, but at least that is the sense of what I then heard. This was said by the man who has passed into history as the Primate of the Millennium. A great Primate. I was a witness to his mission, to his total dedication. To his struggle: to his victory. "Victory when it comes will be a victory through Mary" -- the Primate of the Millennium used to repeat these words by his predecessor, Cardinal August Hlond.
In this way I was in some way prepared for the task that was presented to me on October 16, 1978 In the moment I write these words, the Jubilee year of 2000 is already a reality taking place. On the night of December 24, 1999 the symbolic Great Jubilee door of St. Peter's basilica was opened followed by that of St.John in Lateran and then, on New Year's Day, that of St. Mary Major and on January 19 that of St. Paul's "outside the walls." This last event, through its ecumenical nature, particularly remains fixed in memory.
As the jubilee year 2000 advances, the 20th century closes day by day behind us and the 21st century opens. According to the designs of providence, I have been given to live in the difficult century that is retreating into the past, and now in the year in which my life has reached the 80th year ("octogesima adveniens), I have to ask myself whether it is not time to repeat the Nunc dimittis." (Now lettest thou thy servant depart) with the Biblical Simeone.
On May 13, 1981, the day of the attack on the pope during the general audience in St. Peter's Square, Divine Providence saved me miraculously from death. With Him who is the only Lord of life and death, even He has prolonged this life and in a certain sense has given me a new one. From this moment it belongs even more to Him. I hope that He will assist me to recognize how long I should continue in this service, to which he called me on October 16, 1978. I ask Him to call me when He wills. "Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's" (cf Romans 14,8). I also hope that so long as I have the responsibility for the Petrine service of the Church, the Mercy of God will give me the strength necessary to perform this service.
As in every year during the spiritual exercises, I have re-read my testament of 6.III. 1979, I continue to maintain the arrangements contained therein. What was added then and in subsequent spiritual exercises constitutes a reflection on the difficult and tense general situation that marked the 1980s. After the Autumn of 1989, this situation has changed. The last decade of the last century was free of the preceding tensions; that does not mean that it did not bring new problems and difficulties. In particular, may Divine Providence be praised for this, that the period of so-called "Cold War" has ended without the violent nuclear conflict of which the danger weighed on the world in the preceding period.
Standing on the threshold of the third millennio "in medio Ecclesiae" (in the midst of the Church), I wish also to express gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great Gift of the Second Vatican Council, to which with the entire Church -- and above all with the entire episcopate - I feel I am in debt. I am convinced that for a long time yet new generations will drink from the source of riches that this Council of the Twentieth century has lavished on us. As a bishop who participated in this conciliar event from the first day to the last, I wish to entrust this great heritage to all those who are and who will in future be called to fulfil it. For my part, I thank the eternal Shepherd who has allowed me to serve this very great cause in the course of all the years of my pontificate.
"In medio Ecclesiae" ... from the very first years of service as a bishop -- precisely because of the Council -- I have been able to experience the brotherly communion of the Episcopate. As a priest in the Archdiocese of Krakow, I experienced what could be the fraternal communion of the presbytery -- the Council has opened a new dimension to this experience.
How many people should I mention! Probably the Lord God has called most of them to Himself - as for those who still find themselves in these parts, may the words of this testament remember them, all of them, and wherever they may be.
In the course of the more than twenty years in which I have carried out the service of Peter "in medio Ecclesiae" I have experienced the benevolent and so fruitful collaboration of so many Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, so many priests, so many consecrated people -- Brothers and Sisters -- and last not least so many lay people in the circle of the curia, in the vicariate of the Rome diocese, as well as further afield.
How can I not embrace with grateful memory all the Episcopates of the world, with whom I have met during the successive visits "ad limina Apostolorum!" (to the shrines of the Apostles). How can I not remember so many Christian Brothers -- non-Catholics! And the rabbi of Rome and so many representatives of the non-Christian religions! And how many representatives of the worlds of culture, of science, of politics and the means of social communication!
As the limits of my earthly life approach, I return to the memories of the beginning, of my Parents, of my Brother and Sister (who I did not know because she died before my birth), of the parish of Wadowice where I was baptized, of my beloved hometown, of the people of my age, companions of my elementary school, high school and university up to the time of the occupation when I worked as a laborer, and next in the parish of Niegowie, the Cracov parish of St. Floriano, of my pastoral work among the academics ... of the circles .. to all the circles ... of Krakov and Rome ... to the people people who in a special way have been entrusted to my by the Lord.
To all, I wish to say this one thing: "May God reward you."
"In manus Tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum" (Into Your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit).
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