Pope Considered Resigning In 2000

Pope considered resigning in 2000

Pope John Paul's spiritual testament suggests he considered resigning in the year 2000. The late pontiff would have stepped down at age 80, when he was already ailing and just as the Roman Catholic Church began its new millennium.

The document released today by the Vatican also says the pope wanted his personal notes to be burned. The pope mentioned two living people: his personal secretary and the chief rabbi of Rome, who hosted the pope during his historic visit to Rome's central synagogue in 1986. The pope had considered the possibility of a funeral in his native Poland but the document says he left that decision to the College of Cardinals. His funeral is tomorrow in St. Peter's Square and he will be buried under the Basilica afterward.

John Paul wrote the testament over the course of his 26-year pontificate, starting in 1979, the year after he was elected. Writing in 2000, the pope suggested the time was one of apparent torment for him. He mentioned the 1981 attempt on his life, calling his survival a "miracle."