The emeritus pope, Benedict XVI, left a spiritual testament in which he asks for "heartfelt forgiveness" from all those whom he has "could harm in his life", in a letter that the Vatican has released hours after the death of this Saturday at the age of 95 in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, in the Vatican gardens, where he has lived since his historic resignation in 2013.
The document, dated August 2006, at the beginning of his pontificate, is entitled "My spiritual testament" and contains a firm request to the German people, his homeland, to whom he assures that he prays that this country continue "to be of faith ”. A request that he later transferred to the rest of the Church: “What I have said to my compatriots, I now say to all those in the Church who have been entrusted to my service: stand firm in the faith! Don't be confused!"
The text, distributed in German and Italian, is also a defense of the Catholic faith in the face of philosophical or scientific interpretations that seek to appease it, alleging that after sixty years as a theologian he has seen theses that seemed irreducible fall. He cites the liberal generation –emphasizing the names of the German Protestants Adolf von Harnack and Adolf Jülicher–, the existentialist –Rudolf Bultmann– or the Marxist generation.
In his opinion, it often seems that the natural sciences and research "are capable of offering unmistakable results in the face of the Catholic faith", but he says that he has been able to see "the transformations of the natural sciences since ancient times", and then " to verify how, on the contrary, apparent certainties against faith have vanished, proving to be, not science, but philosophical interpretations only apparently linked to science”. "I have seen and still see how the reason for faith has emerged and emerges from the hubbub of hypotheses. Jesus Christ is truly the way, the truth and the life, and the Church, with all its insufficiencies, is truly his body". reasons.
Benedict XVI's spiritual testament also contains a series of thanks, beginning with God, who has "guided him through various moments of confusion", and continuing with his parents, who gave him life "at a difficult time", Germany between the wars He also remembers his siblings, Maria and especially Georg, without whom he "would not have been able to find the right path". He does not forget his native Bavaria, nor Rome and Italy, which became "a second homeland." "To everyone that I have been able to harm in any way, I apologize from the bottom of my heart," he continues.
Finally, Benedict XVI says goodbye asking that they pray for him. And he ends: “So that the Lord, despite all my sins and inadequacies, welcomes me into the eternal home. To all those whom he has entrusted to me, day by day, my prayer goes from the heart ”.