Benedict XVI responds to a letter sent to him by the Vatican correspondent Andrea Tornielli. The journalist sent him some questions regarding the alleged pressures and conspiracies which some claim led to his resignation
(Vatican Insider) – ANDREA TORNIELLI
“There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry” and the “speculations” surrounding it are “simply absurd”. Joseph Ratzinger was not forced to resign, he was not pressured into it and he did not fall victim to a conspiracy: his resignation was genuine and valid and there is no “diarchy” (dual government) in the Church today. There is a reigning Pope, Francis, who leads the Catholic Church and an Emeritus Pope whose “only purpose” is to pray for his successor.
The Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has put pen to paper to set the record straight on the historic decision he took one year ago, in response to the various interpretations that have been circulating in the press and on the web regarding his gesture. Writing from the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican, he replied in person to a letter with some questions which we sent him a few days ago, after certain comments made in the Italian and international press about his resignation. Ratzinger was brief and to the point; he denied speculations about any secret reasons behind his resignation and urged people not to give undue importance to certain choices he has made, such as his decision to carry on wearing the white cassock after stepping down as Bishop of Rome.
Readers will recall the shock announcement Benedict XVI made on 11 February 2013, informing cardinals at the Consistory of his free decision to resign ingravescente aetate (because of old age): “I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.” He also announced that the Apostolic See was going to be vacant as of the evening of 28 February when the cardinals would meet to begin the process of electing his successor. In the days that followed, Ratzinger informed he would be keeping his papal name Benedict XVI (the name with which he signed the letter he sent us), that he would from that moment on be referred to as Pope Emeritus (this title also appears in print on the letter) and that he planned to carry on wearing a white cassock, albeit a simpler version than the papal one: Ratzinger does not wear the short shoulder cape, known as the “pellegrina” and without the fascia.