Pope says no one put pres­sure on him to re­sign

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

VAT­I­CAN CITY: For­mer Pope Bene­dict says in his mem­oirs no one pres­sured him to re­sign but al­leges a “gay lobby” in the Vat­i­can had tried to in­flu­ence de­ci­sions, a lead­ing Ital­ian news­pa­per re­ported yes­ter­day.

The book, called The Last Con­ver­sa­tions, is the first time a for­mer pope judges his own pon­tif­i­cate after it is over.

It is due to be pub­lished on Septem­ber 9.

Cit­ing health rea­sons, Bene­dict in 2013 be­came the first pope in six cen­turies to re­sign. He promised to re­main “hid­den to the world” and has been liv­ing in a for­mer con­vent in the Vat­i­can gar­dens.

Italy’s Cor­riere della Sera daily, which has ac­quired the Ital­ian news­pa­per rights for ex­cerpts and has ac­cess to the book, ran a long ar­ti­cle yes­ter­day sum­maris­ing its key points.

In the book, Bene­dict says he came to know of the pres­ence of a “gay lobby” made up of four or five peo­ple who were seek­ing to in­flu­ence Vat­i­can de­ci­sions.

The ar­ti­cle says Bene­dict says he man­aged to “break up this power group”.

Bene­dict re­signed fol­low­ing a tur­bu­lent pa­pacy that in­cluded the so- called “Vatileaks” case, in which his but­ler leaked some of his per­sonal let­ters and other doc­u­ments that al­leged cor­rup­tion and a power strug­gle in the Vat­i­can.

Ital­ian me­dia at the time re­ported a fac­tion of prelates who wanted to dis­credit Bene­dict and pres­sure him to re­sign was be­hind the leaks.

The Church has main­tained its cen­turies-long op­po­si­tion to ho­mo­sex­ual acts.

But rights cam­paign­ers have long said many gay peo­ple work for the Vat­i­can.

Church sources have said they sus­pect that some have banded to­gether to sup­port one an­other’s ca­reers and in­flu­ence de­ci­sions in the bu­reau­cracy.

Bene­dict, who now has the ti­tle emer­i­tus pope, has al­ways main­tained that he made his choice to leave freely.

Cor­riere says that in the book Bene­dict “again de­nies black­mail or pres­sure”.

He says he told only a few peo­ple close to him of his in­ten­tion to re­sign, fear­ing it would be leaked be­fore he had a chance to make the sur­prise an­nounce­ment on Fe­bru­ary 11, 2013.

The for­mer pope, in the book-long in­ter­view with Ger­man writer Peter See­wald, says he had to over­come his own doubts on the ef­fect his choice could have on the fu­ture of the Ro­man Catholic Church. – Reuters

PIC­TURE: AP

Pope Fran­cis, left, and re­tired Pope Bene­dict XVI em­brace dur­ing a cer­e­mony to cel­e­brate Bene­dict’s 65th an­niver­sary of his or­di­na­tion as a priest, in the Cle­men­tine Hall of the Apos­tolic Palace, at the Vat­i­can, last month.

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