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As the anniversary of his surprising resignation approaches, Pope Benedict XVI has rejected as “simply absurd” the speculation that he was forced to step down, and he said he still wears the distinctive white papal cassock for “purely practical reasons.”
Pope Benedict XVI, now retired and living in seclusion inside the Vatican, is at peace in his new role and believes history will vindicate his difficult eight-year papacy, his closest aide said in a rare interview.
As the Vatican prepares for the opening of the conclave on Tuesday to elect a new pope, officials announced that the personal secretary of former Pope Benedict XVI will return to Rome for the first time since Benedict's resignation on Feb. 28.
Pope Benedict XVI never inspired the deep love and admiration enjoyed by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, but Americans -- and American Catholics even more so -- still look favorably upon the soon-to-be-former head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Still reeling from Monday's announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will become the first pope in 600 years to resign, the Vatican is attempting to return to normal, but many questions about the future remain unanswered.