[Paleopsych] Text of Pope's Last Will and Testament

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Text of Pope's Last Will and Testament


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    The following is the Vatican information service's English translation
    of the official Italian translation of the text of Pope John Paul II's
    last will and testament, which was originally written in Polish, dated
    March 6, 1979, with successive additions (The editor's notes are the
    AP's. The parentheses are in the pope's text, except for Vatican

    The testament of 6.3.1979 (Eds: March 6, 1979)

    (and successive additions)

    ``Totus Tuus ego sum'' (Eds: Latin for ``I am completely in Your

    In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen.

    ``Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is
    coming'' (cf. Matthew 24, 42) -- these words remind me of the last
    call, which will happen at the moment the Lord wishes. I desire to
    follow Him, and I desire that everything making up part of my earthly
    life should prepare me for this moment. I do not know when the moment
    will come, but like everything else, I place it too in the hands of
    the Mother of my Master: Totus Tuus. In the same maternal Hands I
    leave everything and everyone with whom my life and vocation have
    linked me. In these Hands I leave, above all, the Church, as well as
    my Nation and all humanity. I thank everyone. Of everyone I ask
    forgiveness. I also ask for prayer, that the Mercy of God may appear
    greater than my weakness and unworthiness.

    During the spiritual exercises I reread the testament of the Holy
    Father Paul VI. That reading prompted me to write this testament.

    I leave no property behind me of which it is necessary to dispose. As
    for the everyday objects that were of use to me, I ask they be
    distributed as seems appropriate. My personal notes are to be burned.
    I ask that this be attended to by Father Stanislaw (Eds: his personal
    secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz), whom I thank for his
    collaboration and help, so prolonged over the years and so
    understanding. As for all other thanks, I leave them in my heart
    before God Himself, because it is difficult to express them.

    As for the funeral, I repeat the same dispositions as were given by
    the Holy Father Paul VI. (Here is a note in the margin: burial in the
    bare earth, not in a sarcophagus, 13.3.92) (Eds: March 13, 1992).

    ``Apud Dominum misericordia et copiosa apud Eum redemptio.'' (Eds:
    Latin for ``With the Lord there is mercy, and with Him plentiful

    John Paul pp. II

    Rome, 6.III.1979 (Eds: March 6, 1979)

    After my death I ask for Masses and prayers.

    5.III.1990 (Eds: March 5, 1990)


    (Eds: Undated sheet of paper)

    I express my profound trust that, despite all my weakness, the Lord
    will grant me all the grace necessary to face according to His will
    any task, trial or suffering that He will ask of His servant, in the
    course of his life. I also trust that He will never allow me --
    through some attitude of mine: words, deeds or omissions -- to betray
    my obligations in this holy Petrine See.

    24.II-1.III.1980 (Eds: Feb. 24-March 1, 1980)

    Also during these spiritual exercises, I have reflected on the truth
    of the Priesthood of Christ in the perspective of that Transit that
    for each of us is the moment of our own death. For us the Resurrection
    of Christ is an eloquent (Vatican notation: added above, decisive)
    sign of departing from this world -- to be born in the next, in the
    future world.

    I have read, then, the copy of my testament from last year, also
    written during the spiritual exercises -- I compared it with the
    testament of my great predecessor and Father, Paul VI, with that
    sublime witness to death of a Christian and a Pope -- and I have
    renewed within me an awareness of the questions to which the copy of
    6.III.1979 (Eds: March 6, 1979) refers, prepared by me (in a somewhat
    provisional way).

    Today I wish to add only this: that each of us must bear in mind the
    prospect of death. And must be ready to present himself before the
    Lord and Judge -- Who is at the same time Redeemer and Father. I too
    continually take this into consideration, entrusting that decisive
    moment to the Mother of Christ and of the Church - to the Mother of my

    The times in which we live are unutterably difficult and disturbed.
    The path of the Church has also become difficult and tense, a
    characteristic trial of these times -- both for the Faithful and for
    Pastors. In some Countries (as, for example, in those about which I
    read during the spiritual exercises), the Church is undergoing a
    period of such persecution as to be in no way lesser than that of
    early centuries, indeed it surpasses them in its degree of cruelty and
    hatred. ``Sanguis martyrum -- semen christianorum'' (Eds: Latin for
    ``Blood of the martyrs -- seeds of Christians''). And apart from this
    -- many people die innocently even in this Country in which we are

    Once again, I wish to entrust myself totally to the Lord's grace. He
    Himself will decide when and how I must end my earthly life and
    pastoral ministry. In life and in death, Totus Tuus in Mary
    Immaculate. Accepting that death, even now, I hope that Christ will
    give me the grace for the final passage, in other words (Vatican
    notation: ``my'') Easter. I also hope that He makes (Vatican notation:
    ``that death'') useful for this more important cause that I seek to
    serve: the salvation of men and women, the safeguarding of the human
    family and, in that, of all nations and all peoples (among them, I
    particularly address my earthly Homeland), and useful for the people
    with whom He particularly entrusted me, for the question of 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 this readiness and, at the same time, this trust, to which the
    current spiritual exercises have again disposed me.

    John Paul II


    Totus Tuus ego sum 5.III.1982 (Ed: March 5, 1982)

    In the course of this year's spiritual exercises I have read (a number
    of times) the text of the testament of 6.III.1979 (Eds: March 6,
    1979). Although I still consider it provisional (not definitive), I
    leave it in the form in which it exists. I change nothing (for now),
    and neither do I add anything, as concerns the dispositions contained

    The attempt upon my life on 13.V.1981 (Eds: May 13, 1981) in some way
    confirmed the accuracy of the words written during the period of the
    spiritual exercises of 1980 (24.II-1.III) (Eds: Feb. 24-March 1).

    All the more deeply I now feel that I am totally in the Hands of God
    -- and I remain continually at the disposal of my Lord, entrusting
    myself to Him in His Immaculate Mother (Totus Tuus)

    John Paul pp.II


    5.III.82 (March 5, 1982)

    In connection with the last sentence in my testament of 6.III.1979
    (March 6, 1979) (``concerning the site / that is, the site of the
    funeral / let the College of Cardinals and Compatriots decide'') -- I
    will make it clear that I have in mind: the metropolitan of Krakow or
    the General Council of the Episcopate of Poland. In the meantime I ask
    the College of Cardinals to satisfy, as far as possible, any demands
    of the above-mentioned.


    2. 1.III.1985 (Eds: March 1, 1985) (during the spiritual exercises)

    Again -- as regards the expression ``College of Cardinals and
    Compatriots'': the ``College of Cardinals'' has no obligation to
    consult ``Compatriots'' on this subject, however it can do so, if for
    some reason it feels it is right to do so.



    Spiritual exercise of the Jubilee Year 2000 (12-18.III) (Eds: March

    (Vatican notation: ``for my testament'')

    1. When, on Oct. 16, 1978, the conclave of cardinals chose John Paul
    II, the primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski told me: ``The
    duty of the new Pope will be to introduce the Church into the Third
    Millennium.'' I don't know if I am repeating this sentence exactly,
    but at least this was the sense of what I heard at the time. This was
    said by the Man who entered history as the primate of the Millennium.
    A great primate. I was a witness to his mission, to his total
    entrustment. To his battles. To his victory. ``Victory, when it comes,
    will be a victory through Mary'' -- The primate of the Millennium used
    to repeat these words of his predecessor, Cardinal August Hlond.

    In this way I was prepared in some manner for the duty that presented
    itself to me on Oct. 16, 1978. As I write these words, the Jubilee
    Year 2000 is already a reality. The night of Dec. 24, 1999, the
    symbolic Door of the Great Jubilee in the Basilica of St. Peter's was
    opened, then that of St. John Lateran, then St. Mary Major -- on New
    Year's, and on Jan. 19, the Door of the Basilica of St. Paul's
    Outside-the-Walls. This last event, given its ecumenical character,
    has remained impressed in my memory in a special way.

    2. As the Jubilee Year progressed, day by day the 20th century closes
    behind us and the 21st century opens. According to the plans of Divine
    Providence, I was allowed to live in the difficult century that is
    retreating into the past, and now, in the year in which my life
    reaches 80 years (``octogesima adveniens''), it is time to ask oneself
    if it is not the time to repeat with the biblical Simeone 'nunc
    dimittis' (Ed: Latin for ``Now Master you may let your servant go.'')

    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 in a
    miraculous way from death. The One Who is the Only Lord of life and
    death Himself prolonged my life, in a certain way He gave it to me
    again. From that moment it belonged to Him even more. I hope He will
    help me to recognize up to what point I must continue this service to
    which I was called on Oct. 16, 1978. I ask him to call me back when He
    Himself wishes. ``In life and in death we belong to the Lord ... we
    are the Lord's.'' (cf. Romans 14,8). I also hope that, as long as I am
    called to fulfill the Petrine service in the Church, the Mercy of God
    will give me the necessary strength for this service.

    3. As I do every year during spiritual exercises, I read my testament
    from 6-III-1979 (Eds: March 6, 1979). I continue to maintain the
    dispositions contained in this text. What then, and even during
    successive spiritual exercises, has been added constitutes a
    reflection of the difficult and tense general situation which marked
    the '80s. From autumn of the year 1989, this situation changed. The
    last decade of the century was free of the previous tensions; that
    does not mean that it did not bring with it new problems and
    difficulties. In a special way may Divine Providence be praised for
    this, that the period of the so-called ``cold war'' ended without
    violent nuclear conflict, the danger of which weighed on the world in
    the preceding period.

    4. Being on the threshold of the third millennium ``in medio
    Ecclesiae'' (Eds: Latin for `inside the Church'') I wish once again to
    express gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of Vatican
    Council II, to which, together with the entire Church -- and above all
    the entire episcopacy -- I feel indebted. I am convinced that for a
    long time to come the new generations will draw upon the riches that
    this Council of the 20th century gave us. As a bishop who participated
    in this conciliar event from the first to the last day, I wish to
    entrust this great patrimony to all those who are and who will be
    called in the future to realize it. For my part I thank the eternal
    Pastor Who allowed me to serve this very great cause during the course
    of all the years of my pontificate.

    ``In medio Ecclesiae'' ... from the first years of my service as a
    bishop -- precisely thanks to the Council -- I was able to experience
    the fraternal communion of the Episcopacy. As a priest of the
    Archdiocese of Krakow, I experienced the fraternal communion among
    priests -- and the Council opened a new dimension to this experience.

    5. How many people should I list! Probably the Lord God has called to
    Himself the majority of them -- as to those who are still on this
    side, may the words of this testament recall them, everyone and
    everywhere, wherever they are.

    During the more than 20 years that I am fulfilling the Petrine service
    ``in medio Ecclesiae'' I have experienced the benevolence and even
    more the fecund collaboration of so many cardinals, archbishops and
    bishops, so many priests, so many consecrated persons -- brothers and
    sisters -- and, lastly, so very, very many lay persons, within the
    Curia, in the vicariate of the diocese of Rome, as well as outside
    these milieux.

    How can I not embrace with grateful memory all the bishops of the
    world whom I have met in ``ad limina Apostolorum'' (Eds: a reference
    to required, periodic visits)! How can I not recall so many
    non-Catholic Christian brothers! And the rabbi of Rome and so many
    representatives of non -Christian religions! And how many
    representatives of the world of culture, science, politics, and of the
    means of social communication!

    6. As the end of my life approaches I return with my memory to the
    beginning, to my parents, to my brother, to the sister (I never knew
    because she died before my birth), to the parish in Wadowice, where I
    was baptized, to that city I love, to my peers, friends from
    elementary school, high school and the university, up to the time of
    the occupation when I was a worker, and then in the parish of
    Niegowic, then St. Florian's in Krakow, to the pastoral ministry of
    academics, to the milieu of ... to all milieux ... to Krakow and to
    Rome ... to the people who were entrusted to me in a special way by
    the Lord.

    To all I want to say just one thing: ``May God reward you.''

    ``In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum.'' (Eds: Latin for
    ``In your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.'')

    A.D. 17.III.2000 (Eds: March 17, 2000)


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