Pope Benedict XVI following his final general audience Feb. 27. (CNS photo)
Last week a report was circulated
that Pope Emeritus Benedict had told a visitor that his decision to resign from the
papacy earlier this year was the result of a “mystical experience” that has
continued in the months since he stepped down. Several days later, Benedict’s
personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, told an Italian TV station that
this story is completely false.
Originating with the Zenit news
report cited an unnamed visitor who allegedly spoke with Benedict about his
resignation some weeks ago. “God had told me,” Benedict was reported to have
said in response to questions about why he resigned. The Pope Emeritus then
explained that he had a “mystical experience” calling him to “remain alone” with Christ in prayer, and that he has observed an
increasing “longing for a unique and direct relationship with the Lord” that
has continued since his resignation, the report continued.
“It was invented from alpha to
Archbishop Ganswein about the story. “There is nothing true in the article.”
When he announced his resignation in February, Pope
Benedict stated that he was doing so because “I
have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no
longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”
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