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Former Pope Benedict says in his memoirs that no-one pressured him to resign but alleges that a “gay lobby” in the Vatican had tried to influence decisions, a leading Italian newspaper reported on Friday. The book, called “The Last Conversations,” is the first time in history that a former pope judges his own pontificate after it is over. It is due to be published on Sept. 9. Citing health reasons, Benedict in 2013 became the first pope in six centuries to resign. He promised to remain “hidden to the world” and has been living in a former convent in the Vatican gardens. Italy’s Corriere della Sera daily, which has acquired the Italian newspaper rights for excerpts and has access to the book, ran a long article on Friday summarizing its key points. In the book, Benedict says that he came to know of the presence of a “gay lobby” made up of four or five people who were seeking to influence Vatican decisions. The article says Benedict says he managed to “break up this power group.”
Catholic News Agency adds that the book is formed from a series of interviews with author Peter Seewald:
The interviews, conducted a few months after Benedict’s Feb. 28, 2013, resignation, are set to be released in one book simultaneously worldwide Sept. 9, according to Italian daily “Corriere della Sera.” About 240 pages in length, the book in German is titled “Letzte Gespräche,” or, “Final Conversations,” and “touches upon all the most important stages of life of Joseph Ratzinger.” These stages include Benedict’s childhood under the Nazi regime, the discovery of his vocation to the priesthood, the hardships of the war and his time in the Vatican until his election to the papacy. It also covers “the anxiety” of his first few days as successor of St. Peter, as well as his “painful” decision to resign and his thoughts on Pope Francis. In his responses to Seewald, Benedict speaks about himself, his faith, his weaknesses, his private life, the scandals and controversial issues of his reign, and his papacy in general, explaining the reason for his choice (to resign) – “initially only communicated to a few trusted people to avoid leaks,” Corriere della Sera reports.