London, Aug. 22 (ANI): Former Pope Benedict has said he resigned as the head of the Roman Catholic Church on February 11 after God told him to do so during what he called a 'mystical experience.'
Pope Emeritus Benedict said that God had inspired him to dedicate his life to prayer, rather than push on as pope, the Guardian reports.
The 86-year-old Pope Francis's predecessor became the first pope to step down in 600 years to retire to a secluded residence in the Vatican gardens.
According to the report, Benedict had explained the spiritual process that made him resign to his visitor, who asked to remain anonymous.
A senior Vatican source said that the report was reliable, the report added.
Benedict's explanation was, meanwhile, in contradiction to his earlier statement given to cardinals.
He had announced during resigning that his strengths, due to an advanced age, were no longer suitable for an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.
Benedict has decided to live a life of secluded prayer, receiving very few visitors at his house in the Vatican's gardens. (ANI)