Pope Benedict on Why He Stepped Down: ‘God Told Me To’

When Pope Benedict became the first Pope to step down from the position in 600 years, it took many Vatican-watchers by surprise. Now, the 86-year-old has revealed the real reason why: “God told me to.” The former leader of the Catholic Church said that during a “mystical experience” God gave him an “absolute desire” to spend his life in prayer, not as pope. In the interview with the Catholic news group Zenit, Benedict said that after observing his successor, Pope Francis, he now has confirmation that his decision was the "will of God." Since becoming pope, Francis has gained international attention for his humble approach to leadership, his efforts to end Church corruption and his focus on serving the poor …

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