January 14, 2023 Column Father De Celles

(I’m on vacation this week, so I hope you find these texts interesting. Oremus pro invicem, Fr.
De Celles)
The Spiritual Testament of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
“When, at this late hour of my life, I look back on the decades I have wandered through, I see
first of all how much reason I have to give thanks. Above all, I thank God Himself, the giver of all
good gifts, who has given me life and guided me through all kinds of confusion; who has always
picked me up when I began to slip, who has always given me anew the light of his countenance. In
retrospect, I see and understand that even the dark and arduous stretches of this path were for my
salvation and that He guided me well in those very stretches.
“I thank my parents, who gave me life in difficult times and prepared a wonderful home for
me with their love, which shines through all my days as a bright light until today. My father’s clear-
sighted faith taught us brothers and sisters to believe and stood firm as a guide in the midst of all my
scientific knowledge; my mother’s heartfelt piety and great kindness remain a legacy for which I
cannot thank her enough. My sister has served me selflessly and full of kind concern for decades;
my brother has always paved the way for me with the clear-sightedness of his judgements, with his
powerful determination, and with the cheerfulness of his heart; without this ever-new going ahead
and going along, I would not have been able to find the right path.
“I thank God from the bottom of my heart for the many friends, men and women, whom He
has always placed at my side; for the co-workers at all stages of my path; for the teachers and
students He has given me. I gratefully entrust them all to His goodness. And I would like to thank the
Lord for my beautiful home in the Bavarian foothills of the Alps, in which I was able to see the
splendor of the Creator Himself shining through time and again. I thank the people of my homeland
for allowing me to experience the beauty of faith time and again. I pray that our country will remain a
country of faith and I ask you, dear compatriots, not to let your faith be distracted. Finally, I thank
God for all the beauty I was able to experience during the various stages of my journey, but
especially in Rome and in Italy, which has become my second home.
“I ask for forgiveness from the bottom of my heart from all those whom I have wronged in
some way.
“What I said earlier of my compatriots, I now say to all who were entrusted to my service in
the Church: Stand firm in the faith! Do not be confused! Often it seems as if science – on the one
hand, the natural sciences; on the other, historical research (especially the exegesis of the Holy
Scriptures) – has irrefutable insights to offer that are contrary to the Catholic faith. I have witnessed
from times long past the changes in natural science and have seen how apparent certainties against
the faith vanished, proving themselves not to be science but philosophical interpretations only
apparently belonging to science – just as, moreover, it is in dialogue with the natural sciences that
faith has learned to understand the limits of the scope of its affirmations and thus its own specificity.
For 60 years now, I have accompanied the path of theology, especially biblical studies, and have
seen seemingly unshakeable theses collapse with the changing generations, which turned out to be
mere hypotheses: the liberal generation (Harnack, Jülicher, etc.), the existentialist generation
(Bultmann, etc.), the Marxist generation. I have seen, and see, how, out of the tangle of hypotheses,
the reasonableness of faith has emerged and is emerging anew. Jesus Christ is truly the Way, the
Truth, and the Life – and the Church, in all her shortcomings, is truly His Body.
“Finally, I humbly ask: pray for me, so that the Lord may admit me to the eternal dwellings,
despite all my sins and shortcomings. For all those entrusted to me, my heartfelt prayer goes out day
after day.
“Benedictus PP XVI.
St. Michael’s Army of Intercessors. A recent Article from LifeSiteNews:
“‘…St. Michael’s Army of Intercessors, a prayer mission run by the Women’s Apostolate to
Youth (WAY), is dedicated to praying for youth who are struggling to fight against the evil pitted
against them in modern society.
“‘We ask people to join the St. Michael’s Army simply by saying that they will pray for these

children every month,’ Sheila Jenkins, …the prayer apostolate’s coordinator [said]…
“St. Michael’s Army of Intercessors consists of two main communications, sent over email to
those who have signed up to ‘join the army.’ Jenkins …sends the first message to participants
‘asking for nominations’ of young people to pray for in the coming month. Although submitted with
names and some detail about a youth’s particular struggle, Jenkins …replaces names with aliases to
maintain anonymity…. After gathering nominations for each month’s intentions, she sends another
email with the ‘list of children to pray for’ …
“The apostolate, founded roughly 25 years ago, currently has about 90 lay people and 20
clergy members involved in the mission… [E]veryone who joins St. Michael’s Army commits to
praying the St. Michael prayer and a prayer to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception [daily]…
“St. Michael’s Army of Intercessors is open to anyone who wishes to pray for troubled youth,
both laity and clergy. Joining the apostolate is as simple as submitting a name and email address…
“While the intentions can range from tension with family members to drug addiction…prayer
requests for young people struggling with gender ideology has increased recently…
“‘…Robin Maas, founder of the Women’s Apostolate to Youth, … called the apostolate ‘a
spiritual rescue operation’ in a world that increasingly attacks the traditional family…
“‘The devil’s final assault is going to be on the family,’ Maas added. ‘With contraception and
abortion, you’re refusing to bring new life into the world. With gender ideology, you’re actually
mutilating young bodies so that they can’t reproduce and they can’t bring new life into the world.’
“WAY…a Public Association of the Christian Faithful in the Diocese of Arlington, strives to
‘promote the spiritual well-being of children and youth and to provide spiritual formation and moral
support for women who are called to work in a variety of ministries dedicated to this end’… In
addition to the Army of Intercessors, the group also hosts an annual men’s retreat, a four-part retreat
series for mothers and daughters called Project Daystar, and an independent Catholic school in the
Diocese of Arlington [Angelus Academy]….
“Regarding St. Michael’s Army, WAY is looking to expand the reach of the apostolate after
25 years of dedicated service….Those who feel called to join St. Michael’s Army of Intercessors to
pray for troubled youth or who are interested in learning more about the apostolate can do so…” [at
www.waywomen.com, and click ‘Apostolates’]