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Benedict XVI: 'God told me to resign'

He is also quoted as saying that the “charisma” shown by his successor Pope Francis showed that the resignation was “God’s will”.

Benedict XVI, Joseph Alois Ratzinger.
Benedict XVI, Joseph Alois Ratzinger.
Image: Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse/Empics Entertainment

THE POPE EMERITUS has said God told him to resign as pope. He added that his successor’s “charisma” reflected this divine inspiration, reported the Catholic news agency Zenit.

It is reported Benedict XVI told a visitor who met him recently that “God told me” to step down.

The 86-year-old Benedict XVI, who has retained his papal name, now lives in a former monastery inside the Vatican walls and has made no public appearances.

He only very rarely meets with visitors, Zenit said.

Stepping down

Benedict shocked the world with his resignation announcement on February 11, when he said he was stepping down because he felt his weak physical and mental state no longer let him fulfil his duties.

Rumours of a serious illness were quickly denied by the Vatican, as was speculation that a far-reaching scandal over a series of leaks revealing intrigue in the Vatican had forced him to leave.

But Benedict was quoted by Zenit as saying he had a “mystical experience” in which he received a divine message that fostered the “absolute desire” to be with God in private prayer.

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God’s will

He was also quoted as saying that the “charisma” shown by successor Pope Francis showed that the resignation was indeed “God’s will”.

Francis has said Benedict is like “a live-in grandfather” and informed sources say he regularly consults his predecessor.

- © AFP, 2013

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