Ex-Pope Benedict XVI Denies 'Absurd' Resignation Rumors

In a letter to an Italian newspaper, the former pontiff addresses rumors he was forced out of the Vatican and sheds light on his wardrobe.

Ex-Pope Benedict XVI Denies 'Absurd' Resignation Rumors
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When you're the first Pope to retire in nearly 600 years, you're going to raise a few eyebrows. 

When then-Pope Benedict announced his resignation in February of last year, he cited his age and poor health as reasons why. (Via ABC

But that did little to stop the speculation — even a year later. (Via Christian Post, Examiner, CNN

“This is the inside story of the events that undermined his papacy.”

This recent documentary from PBS’s Frontline revived the idea that scandals forced the pontiff out. 

And then there was this report from Italian newspaper Libero which suggested Benedict was pressured to resign by a group of Cardinals who didn’t like him.

So, in an attempt to set to facts straight, Benedict penned a letter to Italian newspaper La Stampa, calling the speculation "absurd."

Writing, "There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation ... The only condition for the validity of my resignation is the complete freedom of my decision." 

Benedict vowed initially to remain, in his words, "hidden from the world," though he has made a few surprise appearances with Francis over the last year. (Via ITN

Fueling the rumors he’d become a so-called “shadow pope” to his successor, Francis. It didn't help Benedict chose to keep his name and continue to wear the papal robes. (Via YouTube / vatican

Which he addressed in his letter, explaining he wears the white cassocks because “at the moment of my resignation there were no other clothes available." (Via YouTube / romereports

He also said he kept the name Benedict, rather than switching back to Joseph Ratzinger, because it was simpler.