Like much of the rest of his papacy, Benedict's last day in office was overshadowed by claims of secrecy and intrigue.
An Italian news magazine, Panorama, claimed that Vatican authorities had conducted, and are still conducting, an extensive covert surveillance programme, tapping the phone calls and intercepting the emails of cardinals and bishops in the Curia, the governing body of the Catholic Church.
The surveillance operation was to weed out Vatican insiders who may have helped Paolo Gabriele, the butler, steal and leak to the press compromising papal documents, in a scandal that rocked the Catholic Church and reportedly contributed to Benedict's decision to resign.
The Vatican confirmed that secret surveillance had indeed taken place, but on a far smaller scale than that portrayed by Panorama.
In response to a question by The Daily Telegraph at a press briefing, Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said surveillance had taken place but "not of the dimensions described".