Former Pope Benedict denies he was under pressure to resign

With speculation rife in the Italian press over the reasons for his resignation, Benedict insists the decision was his alone

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 February, 2014, 4:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 February, 2014, 4:18pm

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who retired on February 28, 2013, has denied speculation that he was put under pressure to resign, 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 resignation, the first by a pope in 600 years.

La Stampa on Wednesday quoted Benedict as writing: “There isn’t the minimum of doubt about the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry. The only condition for the validity is the full freedom of the decision. Speculation about its invalidity is simply absurd.”

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