Pope Francis's predecessor breaks silence to contradict explanation he gave to cardinals when he stepped down
The former pope Benedict has claimed that his resignation in February was prompted by God, who told him to do it during a "mystical experience".
Breaking his silence for the first time since he became the first pope to step down in 600 years, the 86-year-old reportedly said: "God told me to" when asked what had pushed him to retire to a secluded residence in the Vatican gardens.
Benedict denied he had been visited by an apparition or had heard God's voice, but said he had undergone a "mystical experience" during which God had inspired in him an "absolute desire" to dedicate his life to prayer rather than push on as pope.
The German ex-pontiff's comments, which are said to have been made a few weeks ago, were reported by the Catholic news agency Zenit, which did not name the person Benedict had spoken to.
A senior Vatican source said the report was reliable. "The report seems credible. It accurately explains the spiritual process that brought Benedict to resign," he said.
Written By: Tom Kingtoncontinue to source article at theguardian.com