Benedict: God Told Me to Quit
Former pope says he had 'mystical experience'
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2013 3:26 PM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Feb. 27, 2013.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

(Newser) – Former Pope Benedict is quoted as giving his most straightforward answer yet as to why he resigned: "God told me to." Benedict said so to an anonymous visitor, according to Catholic news agency Zenit, reports the Telegraph. It wasn't an apparition, explained Benedict, but more of a "mystical experience" over the course of months in which he had "a direct rapport with the Lord." Benedict said he received the "absolute desire" to step down and deepen his relationship with God. The LA Times quotes a Vatican source who says the report is on the mark. "It accurately explains the spiritual process that brought Benedict to resign." The Telegraph doubts, however, that it will end speculation that Benedict got out because of mounting scandals.