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Ex-pope targets 'fanatical friends' who have not accepted resignation

Ex-pope targets 'fanatical friends' who have not accepted resignation
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Pope Emeritus Benedict told an Italian newspaper on Monday that some of his more "fanatical" followers have refused to accept his resignation, while arguing that they had fallen for "conspiracy theories."

News wires reported that the former pope told Corriere della Sera in an interview that his resignation was a "conscious choice" that his followers must accept.

“It was a difficult decision. But it was a fully conscious choice and I think I did well," he told the newspaper, adding: “Some of my more fanatical friends are still upset, they have not accepted my choice.”

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“They don’t want to believe in a choice that was taken knowingly,” Benedict continued. “But my conscience is clear.”

Benedict then reportedly reasserted his call for all Catholics to accept Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope Francis asks Minnesota bishop to resign following Vatican probe Biden should look to 'Ostpolitik' to negotiate with autocrats The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's infrastructure plan triggers definition debate MORE as the rightful and current pope, hitting his chair's armrest and declaring, "There is only one pope,” according to Reuters.

Benedict was elected pope by the College of Cardinals in 2005 and served until his resignation in 2013. He then took the title of pope emeritus, an unusual move since popes typically serve for life rather than resign.

He has made occasional public appearances since his 2013 resignation but has largely remained in the shadow of Francis, now the public face of the Catholic Church.