Ex-pope Benedict denies he was forced to resign
VATICAN CITY (REUTERS) - Former Pope Benedict, in one of the few times he has broken his silence since stepping down nearly a year ago, has branded as "absurd" fresh media speculation that he was forced to quit.
Church law says a pope's resignation is valid only if he takes the decision in full freedom and without pressure from others.
"There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry," Benedict, 86, who now has the title "pope emeritus," said in a letter to the Italian website Vatican Insider published on Wednesday.
"The only condition for the validity of my resignation is the complete freedom of my decision. Speculation regarding its validity is simple absurd," he wrote in answer to a request by the website for comment on recent Italian media reports.