Cardinal speaks on Benedict resignation

Former Pope reached decision in 2012

The former Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has revealed that Pope Emeritus Benedict had reached his decision to step aside from the throne of St Peter by the middle of 2012, but was dissuaded from such a move until February 2013.

Speaking during an interview with the Italian daily newspaper Il Giornale, Cardinal Bertone revealed that the former Pontiff had discussed plans to resign by Christmas, but that he had personally intervened in an attempt to delay that move, leading to the Pontiff’s shock February 11 announcement.

Pressed on reasons for Pope Emeritus Benedict’s decision, Cardinal Bertone said the earlier Vatileaks scandal had played a part, but he was at pains to downplay the significance of that issue over other considerations for the aging Pope.