VATICAN CITY — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has reportedly said that he retired from the papacy after a “mystical experience” and because “God told me to.”
The news comes from an anonymous source who visited the former pope a week ago, according to the Zenit news agency.
Asked why he resigned, the pope emeritus said, “God told me to,” but added that he had not received any kind of apparition or similar phenomenon. Rather, it was a “mystical experience” in which the Lord planted a seed of “absolute desire” in his heart “to remain alone with him, secluded in prayer.”
According to the source, this mystical experience has lasted throughout these past months, increasing “more and more” his longing for a unique and direct relationship with the Lord. It has not been an “escape” from the world, he reportedly said, but a means of seeking “refuge in God and living in his love.”
He also said that the more he sees of the “charisma” of his successor, Pope Francis, the more he realizes that his decision to resign the papacy was “the will of God.”
Despite living a cloistered life in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens, Benedict XVI does occasionally receive visitors privately. A few weeks ago, a seminarian at the North American College was surprised to be invited to the pope emeritus’ quarters to have a private conversation.
… Although the source of last week’s meeting is anonymous, various Vatican officials have confirmed the veracity of his remarks.
Well now that the news from an anonymous source has been verified by anonymous Vatican sources this story has to be as solid as information in Wikipedia!
Most of the headlines have been rather straight-forward on this story. Although MSN offers Benedict says he left pope gig at request of former boss (God)
The directive supposedly went down during a “mystical experience” that lasted for months. And to clarify, Benedict didn’t actually hear God’s thunderous, Charlton Heston-like baritone speaking to him, but says God inspired an “absolute desire” in him to retire to a life of prayer.
Yeah that is some solid religion reporting and I guess the longest mystical experience ever.
I must admit I expected to see a headline like “Ex-Pope Benedict says God gave me a pink slip.”
Archbishop Georg Ganswein has flatly denied a widely circulated report that Pope Benedict XVI resigned after a mystical experience that convinced him God wanted him to step down.
The report, originally circulated by the Zenit news agency, quoted an unnamed source as saying that the Pope-emeritus had explained his resignation during a recent private meeting. The source quoted the retired Pope as saying that he resigned because “God wanted me to.”
Archbishop Ganswein told an Italian television audience that the entire story was baseless. “It was invented from alpha to omega,” he said. (source)