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FULL TEXT: Benedict XVI shares his final thoughts with the Church

(Image: Vatican Media)

Rome Newsroom, Dec 31, 2022 / 13:28 pm (CNA).

The Vatican on Saturday evening published the Spiritual Testament of Benedict XVI, written on Aug. 29, 2006, one year and four months into his pontificate. Each pope writes a spiritual testament to be made public only after his death. Below is CNA’s translation of the full testament from Italian:

My spiritual testament

If in this late hour of my life I look back at the decades I have been through, first I see how many reasons I have to give thanks. First and foremost I thank God himself, the giver of every good gift, who gave me life and guided me through various confusing times; always picking me up whenever I began to slip and always giving me again the light of his face. In retrospect I see and understand that even the dark and tiring stretches of this journey were for my salvation and that it was in them that He guided me well.

I thank my parents, who gave me life in a difficult time and who, at the cost of great sacrifice, with their love prepared for me a magnificent abode that, like clear light, illuminates all my days to this day. My father’s lucid faith taught us children to believe, and as a signpost it has always been steadfast in the midst of all my scientific acquisitions; the profound devotion and great goodness of my mother represent a legacy for which I can never give thanks enough. My sister has assisted me for decades selflessly and with affectionate care; my brother, with the lucidity of his judgments, his vigorous resolve and serenity of heart, has always paved the way for me; without this constant preceding and accompanying me I could not have found the right path.

From my heart I thank God for the many friends, men and women, whom He has always placed at my side; for the collaborators in all the stages of my journey; for the teachers and students He has given me. I gratefully entrust them all to His goodness. And I want to thank the Lord for my beautiful homeland in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, in which I have always seen the splendor of the Creator Himself shining through. I thank the people of my homeland because in them I have been able again and again to experience the beauty of faith. I pray that our land remains a land of faith, and I beg you, dear countrymen: Do not let yourselves be turned away from the faith. And finally I thank God for all the beauty I have been able to experience at all the phases of my journey, especially, however, in Rome and in Italy, which has become my second homeland.

To all those whom I have wronged in any way, I heartily ask for forgiveness.

What I said before to my countrymen, I now say to all those in the Church who have been entrusted to my service: Stand firm in the faith! Do not let yourselves be confused! It often seems that science — the natural sciences on the one hand and historical research (especially exegesis of Sacred Scripture) on the other — are able to offer irrefutable results at odds with the Catholic faith. I have experienced the transformations of the natural sciences since long ago and have been able to see how, on the contrary, apparent certainties against the faith have vanished, proving to be not science, but philosophical interpretations only apparently pertaining to science; just as, on the other hand, it is in dialogue with the natural sciences that faith, too, has learned to understand better the limit of the scope of its claims, and thus its specificity. It is now sixty years that I have been accompanying the journey of Theology, particularly of the Biblical Sciences, and with the succession of different generations I have seen theses that seemed unshakable collapse, proving to be mere hypotheses: the liberal generation (Harnack, Jülicher etc.), the existentialist generation (Bultmann etc.), the Marxist generation. I saw and see how out of the tangle of assumptions the reasonableness of faith emerged and emerges again. Jesus Christ is truly the way, the truth and the life — and the Church, with all its insufficiencies, is truly His body.

Finally, I humbly ask: Pray for me, so that the Lord, despite all my sins and insufficiencies, welcomes me into the eternal dwellings. To all those entrusted to me, day by day, my heartfelt prayer goes out.

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  1. In his later interview with Peter Seewald (“Last Testament,” Bloomsbury, 2016; a decade after 2006), and very near the end of the book, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI is asked by SEEWALD:”You are now, as you expressed it, in the last phase of life. Can one prepare oneself for death?”

    BENEDICT: “I think one must, even. Not in the sense of performing particular actions, but living inwardly, so that there is a final self-examination before God. So that one goes out of this world and will be there before God, and before the saints, and before friends and those who weren’t friends. So that one, let’s say, accepts the finitude of this life and approaches it inwardly, to come before God’s countenance.”

    SEEWALD: “How do you do that?”

    BENEDICT: “Just in my meditation. I time and time again think on the fact that it is going to end. I try to open myself up for it, and above all, to keep myself present. The important thing is not actually that I imagine it, but that I live in the consciousness of it, that all of life ascends to an encounter.”

  2. If any of us expected an explosive revelation of repudiation aimed at the current pontificate [something I admit I hoped he would do earlier] then we never really understood the man. While he could be relentless in his mild respectful manner addressing clergy in error as CDF prefect, earning him the unfair label ‘the German Panzer’, Benedict whether Cardinal or Pope was not inclined to cause earthquakes within the Church. His theological acumen, faith in Christ, that the Head and Gatekeeper would handle affairs involving the management of what he instituted, the Chair of Peter.
    He gave us a sense of that when he resigned the office of supreme pontiff simply claiming debilitating fatigue, dismissing conspiracy theories claiming external pressure. Pressure may well have been there, although he would not claim that the cause. And his posture throughout indicated that. What he did however was write and issue a series of letters, writings that caused consternation with Francis devotees. Those ‘writings’ clearly orthodox could be perceived as rebuttal. But then the cat would be let out of the box if they were openly opposed.
    Francis instead handled it diplomatically, retained the aura of a warm friendship and admiration much of which was probably honest – persons in conflict frequently do respect the other. That retention of good relations, Benedict’s quiet, humble manner, his faithful devotion to prayer and God’s providence give many us [there are necessarily various responses to the ongoing issues within the Church] an exemplary example of spiritual strength.

  3. “I have experienced the transformations of the natural sciences since long ago and have been able to see how, on the contrary, apparent certainties against the faith have vanished, proving to be not science, but philosophical interpretations only apparently pertaining to science”

    According to proven science, the universe does not exist when man is not looking at it. According to proven science, our realities are only a Creation from our All Powerful God, which come into existence when we go to look, touch, smell, hear, taste, them.

    Neils bohr VS Albert Einstein. Neils Bohr says that there is no universe when a conscious man is not looking at it. Albert Einstein says, “I’d like to think the moon was there even when I wasn’t looking at it.” After over a century of fierce debate and mountains of scientific research to settle this debate, Neils Bohr’s ‘ ‘Peek A Boo’ universe, a universe which does not exist when man is not looking at it, is winning the debate, over Albert Einstein’s “I’d like to think the moon was there even when I wasn’t looking at it.” By the end of the PBS video, the narrator indicates that there is only a slim chance that Albert Einstein’s ‘Realism’ can be salvaged. Proven science says there is no universe when Adamkind is not looking at it and experiencing it.

    Proven science has now shown us that our reality is more like a tv picture, with God holding the remote control. God can show two different people, two different realities, using the same subatomic particles of the universe.

    Science has now observed multiple realities, from two different observers observing the same subatomic particles. In the lab, scientists have mimicked ‘The miracle of the Sun’, where 60000 people witnessed one reality, while the rest of the world witnessed an alternative reality. Wow!

    Physicists have long suspected that quantum mechanics allows two observers to experience different, conflicting realities. Now they’ve performed the first experiment that proves it.…/a-quantum…/

    Neils Bohr, “It is meaningless to assign Reality to the universe in the absence of observation; in the intervals between measurement, quantum systems truly exist as a fuzzy mixture of all possible properties.”

    Subatomic particles make up everything physical in the universe. Science has proven, through the double slit experiment, that all subatomic particles exist only as a wave of all possibilities. It is only when Adamkind, look, touch, hear, smell, that subatomic particles switch to become specific physical particles, and put themselves together to make up all that we sense in the universe.

    Like our OmniPresent to all physical time God, so do subatomic particles carry all possible physical time, presents, pasts and futures in their makeup. It is only a specific, present, past and future, which becomes a specific Reality to an individual, when that individual observes them. The combined Realities of all people on earth then becomes our combined timeline history.

    When you look at a star 13.8 billion light years away, it is only at the moment you look at the star, that a specific past, present and future comes into existence. Yes! Proven science tells us that a star, even 13 billion light years away, knows when Adamkind is looking at it, and it is Adamkind looking at it which causes ‘wave collapse’, which is subatomic particles putting themselves together to build a star, for Adamkind to look at. Wow! When the star is no longer observed, it no longer exists as a collection of physical subatomic particles.

    The universe is just a soup of all possibilities, until Adamkind, conscious observers, open their eyes and senses to see, touch, hear and smell the universe. Once Adamkind goes to experience our universe, this is when subatomic particles switch into physical particles, joined together to make up our physical universe reality. Different people can have different realities, which do not collapse into a common reality, until the two different people tell one another what they are experiencing. Once an observer opens their eyes, this is when subatomic particles go back in physical time to make up a specific, past, present and future, reality. How on earth can atheist scientists not see that it takes God to do all this! It is their atheist pride, of course.

    Science has proven that, If there was a universe six days before Adam opened his eyes to look at it, it would have to be a six day miracle from God. This is because it takes conscious man to cause ‘wave collapse’, which ‘wave collapse’ is subatomic particles switching to become physical particles, to build complex structures, for Adamkind to look at and experience. The universe and Adamkind are linked together and you cannot have one without the other, unless it is a miracle from God.

    An Electron cannot ‘evolve’ to know how to go back in physical time, to produce an individual Reality, for an individual observer, which collapses into a common Reality with another individual’s Reality. Scientism atheist scientists are deceiving you away from our All Powerful God.

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