Former Pope Benedict XVI asks for forgiveness and thanks God in final letter before his death


Former Pope Benedict XVI, who died in a Vatican monastery on Saturday at the age of 95, asked forgiveness for those he “wronged” in the spiritual testament released after his death.

Benedict XVI, who was the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to step down from his post, rather than hold office for life, died on Saturday, according to a Vatican statement.

He was elected pope in April 2005, after the death of John Paul II.

During the testament, which consisted of a letter containing the pope’s last words, Benedict XVI spoke of the “many reasons” for which he should be grateful for his life.

In the letter of August 29, 2006, the former pope thanks God for having guided him “well” throughout his life. He also expressed his gratitude to his parents who he said gave him “life in a difficult time”.

He then thanked his sister for her “selfless” help and his brother for the “clarity of judgement” he shared with him.

Benedict was known to be more conservative than his successor, Pope Francis, who took steps to soften the Vatican’s stance on abortion and homosexuality, as well as to do more to address the sexual abuse crisis that has engulfed the church in recent years and darkened the position of Benedict XVI. heritage.

In April 2019, Benedict addressed the sexual abuse crisis in a public letter, saying it was partly caused by the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the liberalization of the Church’s moral teachings.

In January 2020, Benedict was forced to distance himself from a book widely seen as undermining Francis as he considered allowing married men to become priests in certain cases. The book, “From the Bottom of Our Hearts,” argued for the centuries-old tradition of priestly celibacy within the Catholic Church. Benoît was initially listed as a co-author, but later clarified that he contributed only one section of the text.

A year later, Benedict came under fire for his tenure as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, between 1977 and 1982, following the publication of a church-commissioned report into abuses by Catholic clergy there. .

In the 2006 letter, the former pope “sincerely” asked for “pardon” for those he “wronged in any way”, in his letter.

In his last words, the former pontiff asked “humbly”, despite all his “sins and faults”, that he be welcomed by God into heaven.

In a separate letter released by the Vatican in February 2022, Benedict XVI issued a general apology to survivors of abuse, writing, “Once again, I can only express to all victims of sexual abuse my deep shame. , my deep sadness and my sincere request for forgiveness”, but he did not admit any personal or specific wrongdoing.

There is no indication that his request for forgiveness in his last letter relates to the Catholic Church’s handling of allegations of sexual abuse against priests.

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