Ex-Pope: 'Absurd' to Think I Was Forced Out A year after resignation, pope responds to rumors By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Feb 26, 2014 7:25 AM CST 20 comments Comments In this Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011, file photo, Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful as he arrives in St. Peter's Square to bless the nativity scene at the Vatican. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, File) (Newser) – With rumors swirling regarding why the former Pope Benedict left his post almost exactly one year ago to become pope emeritus, the man himself has spoken out. Responding to a Vatican Insider journalist's letter with a brief letter of his own, Benedict calls "speculations" on the matter "simply absurd." Resignation, he writes, was his choice; he wasn't pushed in that direction. What's more, Pope Francis is indeed in charge, and the former pope's sole task is to pray for him—there's no dual government within the Vatican. "There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry." The letter comes after an article in Italian media this month pointed to doubts about Benedict's resignation, suggesting it was a forced move linked to Vatican scandals, Reuters notes; the piece also questioned Benedict's continued wearing of white, seeing it as a potential indication that he still considered himself a pope. He addresses the matter in the letter: "I continue to wear the white cassock and kept the name Benedict for purely practical reasons. At the moment of my resignation there were no other clothes available," he writes. "In any case, I wear the white cassock in a visibly different way to how the Pope wears it."