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What did Pope Benedict XVI write in his recently published spiritual testament?

The Pope Emeritus, in a letter written one year after the beginning of his papacy, apologized to whoever he may have harmed during his life.

Pope Benedict XVI's recently published spiritual testament
i15 / Zuma Press / ContactoPhoto Europa Press

The last day of 2022 began with the sad news of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. At the age of 95, Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger passed away peacefully in his Vatican residence, leaving behind a spiritual testament in which he asks for “heartfelt forgiveness” from those he may have harmed throughout his life.

His writing urges the Church to “stand firm” in support of faith, in the face of the different philosophical and scientific proposals that seek to counteract it.

The text was written by Benedict XVI in August 2006, one year after he began his career as pontiff. It reads: “To all those whom I have harmed in some way, I apologize from the bottom of my heart”, reads the aforementioned document entitled “My spiritual testament”.

In it, he thanks God for guiding him through some “confusional moments,” adding: “In hindsight, I see and understand that even the dark and tiring sections of this road were for my salvation and that it was precisely in them that he guided me well.”

Gratitude to his family

Pope Benedict XVI also took the opportunity to give thanks to the guidance of his parents and his siblings Maria and Georg in a difficult context for the country. He was brought up in a Germany between the wars, a point at which the nation was headed towards Nazism.

“At the cost of great sacrifices, with their love they prepared for me a magnificent home that, like a clear light, illuminates all my days to this day”.

In addition, he expresses gratitude to the “many friends, men and women” who accompanied him throughout his life, to the teachers and students he had, to his country, and to his native Bavaria. He addressed the German people directly, saying: “I pray that our land continues to be one of faith and I ask you, dear compatriots: do not let yourselves be diverted from the faith, do not let yourselves be confused”.

Weary of scientific interpretations

Regarding faith, Pope Benedict XVI extoiled the virtues of religon in argument against philosophical and scientific interpretations. He said: “It often seems that science (the natural sciences on the one hand and historical research on the other) are capable of providing unmistakable results in the face of the Catholic faith.”

“I have seen the transformations of the natural sciences since ancient times and I have been able to verify how, on the contrary, apparent certainties against faith have vanished, proving to be, not science, but philosophical interpretations only apparently linked to the science”.

The funeral will take place in the Vatican City on Thursday, 5 January, starting at 9:30am local time (3:30am EST, 00:30am PT).

The ceremony will be viewed by people all around the world, and can be streamed live on the Vatican’s YouTube channel.


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