Pope Benedict XVI’s final message to Catholics around the world was: “Stand firm in the faith! Do not let yourselves be confused!” Source: CNS Rome.
The Vatican press office has released Pope Benedict’s spiritual testament, a statement of faith and of thanksgiving.
Unlike St John Paul II’s spiritual testament, Pope Benedict’s included no instructions for his funeral or burial and made no mention of what should happen to his belongings.
“To all those whom I have wronged in any way, I ask forgiveness from my heart,” Pope Benedict wrote.
Written in German and dated August 29, 2006 – in the second year of his almost eight-year pontificate – Pope Benedict wrote with great affection of his parents, his sister and his brother, the beauty of Bavaria and his faith in God.
“If at this late hour of my life I look back over the decades I have been living, I first see how many reasons I have to give thanks,” he wrote in the document when he was 79 years old.
“First of all, I thank God himself, the giver of every good gift, who gave me life and guided me through various moments of confusion; always picking me up whenever I began to slip and always giving me the light of his countenance again,” he said. “In retrospect I see and understand that even the dark and tiring stretches of this path were for my salvation and that it was in them that he guided me well.”
Addressing the whole Church, Pope Benedict urged Catholics to hold fast to their faith and to not let science or research shake the foundations of their belief.
In 60 years of theological study and observation, he said, he had seen “unshakable” theses collapse, including those offered by the “Marxist generation” of theologians.
“The reasonableness of faith has emerged and is emerging again,” he wrote.
“Jesus Christ is truly the way, the truth and the life – and the Church, with all its inadequacies, is truly his body.”
Pope Benedict’s spiritual testament: ‘Stand firm in the faith’ (By Cindy Wooden, CNS Rome)
The Spiritual Testament of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (Vatican News)
Pope Benedict XVI’s last words: ‘Jesus, I love you’ (America Magazine)