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Benedict denies he was pressured to resign

Ex-Pope Benedict XVI Denies 'Absurd' Resignation Rumors

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Retired Pope Benedict XVI has denied speculation that he was pressured to leave office, saying his decision was freely made and his alone.

Benedict wrote to the Vatican correspondent for La Stampa newspaper, Andrea Tornielli, amid a new round of speculation about his reasons ahead of Friday's first anniversary of the first resignation by a pope in 600 years.

"There isn't the slightest doubt about the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry," La Stampa quoted Benedict as writing. "The only condition for the validity is the full freedom of the decision. Speculation about its invalidity is simply absurd."

Benedict, 86, also defended his decision to continue wearing the white cassock of the papacy, saying that there were no other clothes available.

Media are again speculating about what drove Benedict from office. Italian journalist Antonio Socci suggested last week in the conservative daily Libero that the resignation may have been invalid, claiming Benedict was pressured by a group of cardinals opposed to him.

Benedict, however, had made clear from the start of his papacy that it might not end in his death. In the 2010 book "Light of the World," Benedict wrote: "If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign."

Benedict made a surprise cameo at this weekend's ceremony to formally install 19 new cardinals. It was the first time he and Pope Francis had appeared together at a public liturgical ceremony and immediately raised questions about whether Benedict might occasionally be reintegrated back into the life of the church.

British Cardinal Vincent Nichols, one of the new cardinals, said Benedict's presence didn't represent a change.

"He says his vocation now is to pray for the church and to live that life of prayerful seclusion, and he would appear to be very peaceful doing that," Nichols told reporters.

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Bill February 26 2014 at 11:19 AM

Frontline had a 90 minute program last night about the Catholic Church. While I'm not sure he was pressured to resign he came to realize that he didn't have the organizational skills and energy to put through the reforms needed. The sex scandals are an obvious issue to deal with but the entrenched Curia and the Bank of the Vatican, in particular, are big threats to the Church. Apparently, the Bank of the Vatican operates outside of commonly accepted banking standards. There is a thought that the Bank of the Vatican is a major source of money laundering. The new Pope Francis is seen as younger and more energetic in pursuing these reforms.

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Ralph February 26 2014 at 9:13 AM

It was his decision, not yours or mine. People should mind their own business. I am sure all of you have made decisions that would not set well with others, but they are your burdens to carry not the worlds. Get a life!

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greatbirdusa February 26 2014 at 6:05 PM

Plenty of heathens on here commenting on the Pope.

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1 reply
sometimesthetruthhurts greatbirdusa February 26 2014 at 6:18 PM

And of course those heathens see themselves as "above" those who believe...

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lacatman7 February 26 2014 at 9:52 PM

What a terrific example of how prejudice regarding ANYTHING to do with the Catholic Church finds resonance within our society! ANY institution created for ANY purpose is in constant need of reform--forget for the moment that the institution in question is the Vatican, which we've all been taught to hate!

The previous pope-- to his discredit--failed to separate his personal struggles with his advancing illness with the needs of his church as a whole. He hung on to the power of the papacy long after he should have relinquished such for the benefit of the vitality of the church as a whole.

Benedict--well beyond his personal prime at the inauguration of his reign--nevertheless sought to provide reform, holding accountable Marcial Maciel, the founder of a religious order that John Paul 2 favored and sheltered even though he was guilty of gross sexual abuse. Benedict also recognized that at a certain point he was too infirm to properly guide the church, and unwilling to leave the church rudderless through a prolonged illness as his predecessor did, made the right choice to resign.

These two defining moments in Benedict's papacy are to be considered for their own integrity rather than to be demeaned by those who would always impugn the worst possible motives to any decisions undertaken by the Vatican.

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kornelia February 26 2014 at 8:43 AM

It is time for the Body of Christ to work as designed. Each portion of His bodyChurch on earth is being healed. He will be returning as the Lion of Judah. Let the ear hear, the blind eye see, rhe tongue speak only truth, and the hands touch for healing. One cannot function without the other. Let the convicting and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit continue His work. In Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.

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skitzlpk February 26 2014 at 8:39 AM

If you stop & think about it,, it's amazing that no other pope has resigned in 600 yrs. of history. Surely these men developed symptoms of Alzheimer's or some other mind reducing/altering incapacity to carry out their duties over 6 centuries. With the lack of medical understanding all those centuries ago, a pope might have been looked upon as "possessed" by some outside negative spirit which the Diocese & parishioners would have acted upon. Perhaps it was divine intervention that prevented this?

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Marcia February 26 2014 at 8:38 AM

Watched show on PBS last night about this. It makes sense that he was pressured for knowing the crimes of the church, from banking to pedophilia and more.

And of course his health was also at the forefront of his resignation.

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1 reply
mphseason Marcia February 26 2014 at 9:13 AM

Yes, saw it also. Hope it runs again, because there was so much info in the program, I couldn't keep up sometimes (to relate it to previous reporting). When they talked about the Vatican bank, wish they could do more investigation, to see whom had put funds in there, from the past and the present. Sounds like the past Popes had dirty hands when it came to dirty money.

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smithmnd@aol.com February 26 2014 at 6:50 PM

why bring this up now? what does it matter? Pope Francis is doing a marvelous job. Please let it rest!

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Brian February 26 2014 at 7:06 PM

Pope Benedict is a very gifted person. All the rumors really don't matter at all. Its the media doing its "gotcha" story to sell their newspapers. The church is in good hands - God's hands.

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2 replies
gghinmass Brian February 26 2014 at 7:52 PM

Yep, Brian you hit the nail right on the head. Bravo to you bro

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margaretland Brian February 26 2014 at 8:14 PM

Thank you Brian - and you're so right - the church is where it should be according to His plan. Everyone needs to calm down :)

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npc317 February 26 2014 at 9:23 AM

Why do these reporters try to create news out of nothing. Whats the difference. All you have to do is look at the Popes Picture. I'd say that in itself tells me his age and health is most likely the reason to resign. Internet has gotten just like the main street media, you can't believe a word you see. All news creaters, that all it is.

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