Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has vehemently denied theories suggesting that there were other reasons he resigned as Successor of Peter, other than what he has explicitly said, and said repeatedly.
The German Pontiff was the first Pope to abdicate the role in nearly 600 years, when Gregory XII did so in 1415. And Benedict was the first one to resign voluntarily since Celestine V did so 719 years in 1294.
In Latin, on Feb. 11, 2013, the 85-year-old Pontiff surprised the world, after having led the universal Church for nearly 8 years, announced he would be resigning. The Sede Vacante officially went into effect at 8 pm Rome time on Feb. 28.
The Pope Emeritus’ comments were from an interview he granted German author, Peter Seewald, with whom he has done various ‘interview-books,’ if you will, including Light of the World, during his pontificate, and The Last Testament, afterward.
This interview appears within Seewald’s most recent work, which is an extensive biography of Ratzinger, which had been gifted to the Pope Emeritus for his 93rd birthday on April 16th.
In German on the Katolisch.de website, there are some excerpts from the interview, in which Benedict retains that his frail health remains why he stepped down.
As Benedict has always expressed, he had recently, before stepping down, been told he could not travel transatlantically, and he was due to travel for the upcoming World Youth Day in Brazil.
Between realizing this would impede the Roman Pontiff from reaching his people around the globe, and feeling weaker, he felt compelled to make a decision.
A great toll had also been taken on him during his trip to Mexico and Cuba. Some might remember when he had hit his head and bled.
In this interview, Benedict tells Seewald that the Vatileaks scandals, nor any others, have anything to do with his decision to step down.