Pope ‘pushed to resign’

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iol pic wld Vatican Pope Profile~1 AP Pope Benedict XVI. File photo: AP


The first Papal resignation in six centuries may have been the result of Vatican pressure, it was reported on Tuesday.

A rebel faction of cardinals is alleged to have pressurised Pope Benedict to get softer treatment for senior clerics accused of condoning child abuse.

The push against Benedict, it is said, added to the effects of illness and declining mental grip to tip the Pope over the edge into resignation.

The meeting that may have influenced Benedict’s resignation on Monday was a visit to his private rooms on Saturday evening by Cardinal Angelo Soldano, according to accounts circulating in Rome.

Soldano, a former Vatican Secretary of State - the senior political and diplomatic post - is said to have argued with Benedict over his hard line against clergy accused of sex abuse.

Soldano, 85, was criticised when he referred to abuse complaints as “petty gossip”.

He is said to have accepted payments from the Legion of Christ group, and to have halted a sex-abuse investigation into the organisation’s founder in the 1990s. The investigation was being run by the then Joseph Ratzinger, the now outgoing Benedict XVI. - Daily Mail

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