Testament of John Paul II released

Pope considered possibility of resigning, asks all personal notes be burned in spiritual testament

Pope John Paul II suggested in his spiritual testament that he considered the possibility of resigning in 2000 at a time when he was already ailing and when the Roman Catholic Church was embarking on a new millennium

The document, which the Vatican released Thursday, also said he left no material property and asked that all his personal notes be burned. It mentioned only two living people: his personal secretary and the chief rabbi of Rome who welcomed him to Rome's synagogue in 1986.

The pope also had considered the possibility of a funeral in Poland, but later left it up to the College of Cardinals to decide. The pope will be buried under St. Peter's Basilica on Friday after a funeral in the square.

John Paul wrote the testament over the course of his 26-year pontificate, starting in 1979, the year after he was elected. It was written in his native Polish and translated by the Vatican into Italian.

Writing in 2000, the pope suggested the time was one of apparent torment for him, mentioning the 1981 attempt on his life. He called his survival a "miracle."

He said he hoped the Lord "would help me to recognize how long I must continue this service to which he called me the day of 16 October, 1978."

He also prayed at the time that he would have the "necessary strength" to continue his mission as long as he was serving as pope.


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