Thursday, April 07, 2005

Pope John Paul II's Will

CNN reports:

VATICAN CITY (CNN) -- Ailing and tired in 2000, Pope John Paul II pondered whether he had accomplished what he was meant to do as head of the Roman Catholic church and wondered if it was his time to die, passing the flame to the next pope to bring the church forward in the next millennium.

Already suffering from Parkinson's disease and other ailments that year, John Paul -- in his spiritual will released Thursday by the Vatican -- wondered if bringing the church to the 21st Century had been his task as pope.

Reflecting on the story of Simeon, who had been told he would not die before seeing the Messiah, the pope recalled the old man's prayer when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus into the temple.

"Lord, now let your servant go in peace, your word has been fulfilled," Simeon said, the story recounted in the New Testament's Gospel of Luke.

The pontiff wrote his 15-page testament in Polish, beginning in 1979, the year after he became pope. The pope has said that he reviewed it each Lenten season. (Text of will)

His first entries concern his parents, brother and sister, all of whom died early in his life -- an infant sister before he was born, a brother when he was 9, his mother when he was 12 and finally his father when he was 21.

John Paul wrote that he left no material possessions behind and asked that his personal records be burned. Other than his family, he mentioned only two people -- his personal secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, and the former chief rabbi of Rome, Elio Toaff, who hosted John Paul in 1986 when he was the first modern pope to visit a synagogue.

Here's the Italian text and the Polish text

Here's the English translation of the text of Pope John Paul II's will.


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