POPE JOHN PAUL II's
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
The Last Will and Testament of Pope John Paul II Last :
The Vatican Information Service translated into English the Italian
translation of Pope John Paul II's last will and testament. It was originally
written in Polish.
The testament of 6.3.197?:
"Totus Tuus ego sum"
In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen.
"Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming"
(cf. Mt 24, 42) - these words remind me of the last call, which will happen at
the moment the Lord wishes. I desire to follow Him, and I desire that everything
making up part of my earthly life should prepare me for this moment. I do not
know when the moment will come, but like everything else, I place it too in the
hands of the Mother of my Master: Totus Tuus. In the same maternal Hands I leave
everything and everyone with whom my life and vocation have linked me. In these
Hands I leave, above all, the Church, as well as my Nation and all humanity. I
thank everyone. Of everyone I ask forgiveness. I also ask for prayer, that the
Mercy of God may appear greater than my weakness and unworthiness.
During the spiritual exercises I re-read the testament of the Holy Father
Paul VI. That reading prompted me to write this testament.
I leave no property behind me of which it is necessary to dispose. As for the
everyday objects that were of use to me, I ask they be distributed as seems
appropriate. My personal notes are to be burned. I ask that this be attended to
by Fr. Stanislaw, whom I thank for his collaboration and help, so prolonged over
the years and so understanding. As for all other thanks, I leave them in my
heart before God Himself, because it is difficult to express them.
As for the funeral, I repeat the same dispositions as were given by the Holy
Father Paul VI. (Here is a note in the margin: burial in the bare earth, not in
a sarcophagus, 13.3.92).
"apud Dominum misericordia et copiosa apud Eum redemptio"
John Paul pp. II
Rome , 6.III.1979 After my death I ask for Masses and prayers. 5.III.1990
Undated addition on a sheet of paper:
I express my profound trust that, despite all my weakness, the Lord will
grant me all the grace necessary to face according to His will any task, trial
or suffering that He will ask of His servant, in the course of his life. I also
trust that He will never allow me - through some attitude of mine: words, deeds
or omissions - to betray my obligations in this holy Petrine See.
24.II - 1.III.1980
Also during these spiritual exercises, I have reflected on the truth of the
Priesthood of Christ in the perspective of that Transit that for each of us is
the moment of our own death. For us the Resurrection of Christ is an eloquent
(added above: decisive) sign of departing from this world - to be born in the
next, in the future world.
I have read, then, the copy of my testament from last year, also written
during the spiritual exercises - I compared it with the testament of my great
predecessor and Father, Paul VI, with that sublime witness to death of a
Christian and a Pope - and I have renewed within me an awareness of the
questions to which the copy of 6.III.1979 refers, prepared by me (in a somewhat
Today I wish to add only this: that each of us must bear in mind the prospect
of death. And must be ready to present himself before the Lord and Judge - Who
is at the same time Redeemer and Father. I too continually take this into
consideration, entrusting that decisive moment to the Mother of Christ and of
the Church - to the Mother of my hope.
The times in which we live are unutterably difficult and disturbed. The path
of the Church has also become difficult and tense, a characteristic trial of
these times - both for the Faithful and for Pastors. In some Countries (as, for
example, in those about which I read during the spiritual exercises), the Church
is undergoing a period of such persecution as to be in no way lesser than that
of early centuries, indeed it surpasses them in its degree of cruelty and
hatred. "Sanguis martyrum - semen christianorum." And apart from this -
many people die innocently even in this Country in which we are living.
Once again, I wish to entrust myself totally to the Lord's grace. He Himself
will decide when and how I must end my earthly life and pastoral ministry. In
life and in death, Totus Tuus in Mary Immaculate. Accepting that death, even
now, I hope that Christ will give me the grace for the final passage, in other
words (my) Easter. I also hope that He makes (that death) useful for this more
important cause that I seek to serve: the salvation of men and women, the
safeguarding of the human family and, in that, of all nations and all peoples
(among them, I particularly address my earthly Homeland), and useful for the
people with whom He particularly entrusted me, for the question of the Church,
for the glory of God Himself.
I do not wish to add anything to what I wrote a year ago - only to express
this readiness and, at the same time, this trust, to which the current spiritual
exercises have again disposed me.
John Paul II
Totus Tuus ego sum
In the course of this year's spiritual exercises I have read (a number of
times) the text of the testament of 6.III.1979. Although I still consider it
provisional (not definitive), I leave it in the form in which it exists. I
change nothing (for now), and neither do I add anything, as concerns the
dispositions contained therein.
The attempt upon my life on 13.V.1981 in some way confirmed the accuracy of
the words written during the period of the spiritual exercises of 1980 (24.II -
All the more deeply I now feel that I am totally in the Hands of God - and I
remain continually at the disposal of my Lord, entrusting myself to Him in His
Immaculate Mother (Totus Tuus)
John Paul pp.II
In connection with the last sentence in my testament of 6.III.1979 ("concerning
the site / that is, the site of the funeral / let the College of Cardinals and
Compatriots decide") - I will make it clear that I have in mind: the
metropolitan of Krakow or the General Council of the Episcopate of Poland - In
the meantime I ask the College of Cardinals to satisfy, as far as possible, any
demands of the above-mentioned.
1.III.1985 (during the spiritual exercises) Again - as regards the expression
"College of Cardinals and Compatriots": the "College of Cardinals" has no
obligation to consult "Compatriots" on this subject, however it can do so, if
for some reason it feels it is right to do so.
Year 2000 additions:
Spiritual exercise of the Jubilee Year 2000 (12-18.III) (for my testament)
1. When, on October 16, 1978 the conclave of cardinals chose John Paul II,
the primate of Poland , Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski told me: "The duty of the
new Pope will be to introduce the Church into the Third Millennium." I don't
know if I am repeating this sentence exactly, but at least this was the sense of
what I heard at the time. This was said by the Man who entered history as the
primate of the Millennium. A great primate. I was a witness to his mission, to
his total entrustment. To his battles. To his victory. "Victory, when it
comes, will be a victory through Mary" - The primate of the Millennium used
to repeat these words of his predecessor, Cardinal August Hlond.
In this way I was prepared in some manner for the duty that presented itself
to me on October 16, 1978 . As I write these words, the Jubilee Year 2000 is
already a reality. The night of December 24, 1999 the symbolic Door of the Great
Jubilee in the Basilica of St. Peter's was opened, then that of St. John
Lateran, then St. Mary Major - on New Year's, and on January 19 the Door of the
Basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls. This last event, given its ecumenical
character, has remained impressed in my memory in a special way.
2. As the Jubilee Year progressed, day by day the 20th century closes behind
us and the 21st century opens. According to the plans of Divine Providence I was
allowed to live in the difficult century that is retreating into the past, and
now, in the year in which my life reaches 80 years ('octogesima adveniens'),
it is time to ask oneself if it is not the time to repeat with the biblical
Simeone 'nunc dimittis'.
On May 13, 1981 , the day of the attack on the Pope during the general
audience in St. Peter's Square, Divine Providence saved me in a miraculous way
from death. The One Who is the Only Lord of life and death Himself prolonged my
life, in a certain way He gave it to me again. From that moment it belonged to
Him even more. I hope He will help me to recognize up to what point I must
continue this service to which I was called on October 16, 1978 . I ask him to
call me back when He Himself wishes. 'In life and in death we belong to the Lord
... we are the Lord's. (cf. Rm 14,8). I also hope that, as long as I am called
to fulfill the Petrine service in the Church, the Mercy of God will give me the
necessary strength for this service.
3. As I do every year during spiritual exercises I read my testament from
6-III-1979. I continue to maintain the dispositions contained in this text. What
then, and even during successive spiritual exercises, has been added constitutes
a reflection of the difficult and tense general situation which marked the
Eighties. From autumn of the year 1989 this situation changed. The last decade
of the century was free of the previous tensions; that does not mean that it did
not bring with it new problems and difficulties. In a special way may Divine
Providence be praised for this, that the period of the so-called 'cold war'
ended without violent nuclear conflict, the danger of which weighed on the world
in the preceding period.
4. Being on the threshold of the third millennium "in medio Ecclesiae"
I wish once again to express gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of
Vatican Council II, to which, together with the entire Church - and above all
the entire episcopacy - I feel indebted. I am convinced that for a long time to
come the new generations will draw upon the riches that this Council of the 20th
century gave us. As a bishop who participated in this conciliar event from the
first to the last day, I wish to entrust this great patrimony to all those who
are and who will be called in the future to realize it. For my part I thank the
eternal Pastor Who allowed me to serve this very great cause during the course
of all the years of my pontificate.
"In medio Ecclesiae".... from the first years of my service as a
bishop - precisely thanks to the Council - I was able to experience the
fraternal communion of the Episcopacy. As a priest of the archdiocese of Krakow
I experienced the fraternal communion among priests - and the Council opened a
new dimension to this experience.
5. How many people should I list! Probably the Lord God has called to Himself
the majority of them - as to those who are still on this side, may the words of
this testament recall them, everyone and everywhere, wherever they are.
During the more than 20 years that I am fulfilling the Petrine service "in
medio Ecclesiae" I have experienced the benevolence and even more the fecund
collaboration of so many cardinals, archbishops and bishops, so many priests, so
many consecrated persons - brothers and sisters - and, lastly, so very, very
many lay persons, within the Curia, in the vicariate of the diocese of Rome, as
well as outside these milieux.
How can I not embrace with grateful memory all the bishops of the world whom
I have met in "ad limina Apostolorum" visits! How can I not recall so
many non-Catholic Christian brothers! And the rabbi of Rome and so many
representatives of non -Christian religions! And how many representatives of the
world of culture, science, politics, and of the means of social communication!
6. As the end of my life approaches I return with my memory to the beginning,
to my parents, to my brother, to the sister (I never knew because she died
before my birth), to the parish in Wadowice, where I was baptized, to that city
I love, to my peers, friends from elementary school, high school and the
university, up to the time of the occupation when I was a worker, and then in
the parish of Niegowic, then St. Florian's in Krakow, to the pastoral ministry
of academics, to the milieu of....to all milieux....to Krakow and to Rome....to
the people who were entrusted to me in a special way by the Lord.
To all I want to say just one thing: "May God reward you."
"In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum." A.D. 17.III.2000