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Archbishop: claim that Benedict had ‘mystical experience’ is false

By on Thursday, 29 August 2013

Benedict XVI (CNS)

Benedict XVI (CNS)

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the personal secretary of Benedict XVI, has said that a story about the pope resigning after a “mystical experience” was completely invented.

“It was invented from alpha to omega,” the archbishop said in an interview on Italy’s Canale 5 television news. “There is nothing true in the article.”

In a report Zenit, a Catholic news agency, said someone who had visited Benedict XVI “a few weeks ago” had asked him why he resigned. “God told me to,” the retired pope was quoted as replying before “immediately clarifying that it was not any kind of apparition of phenomenon of that kind, but rather ‘a mystical experience’ in which the Lord gave rise in his heart to an ‘absolute desire’ to remain alone with him in prayer”.

When Benedict XVI announced his resignation in February, he said he had done so after intense prayer and intended to live the rest of his life praying and studying.

Some Vatican officials and Vatican-watchers were surprised by Zenit’s report of Benedict XVI telling an anonymous visitor that his decision was the result of some form of extraordinary “mystical experience” rather than a decision made after long and careful thought and deep prayer. Many Catholics might consider that kind of intense prayer a “mystical experience”, although not necessarily something extraordinary.

Explaining his decision to resign to a group of cardinals at the Vatican in February, Benedict XVI had said: “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, 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.”

  • SimonS

    Quelle suprise. Someone realised they could get some mileage in the press, and ran with it.

    Does it really matter why he chose to step down? Ultimately, the decision about whether to step down was Benedict XVI’s, and his alone.

  • Hermit Crab

    It matters because Zenit, a Catholic news agency, is publishing lies.

  • SimonS

    If the news agency was knowingly publishing lies, that matters.

    If the news agency was misled, that is unfortunate. They have an interest in not being misled, so will hopefully be working to avoid making the same mistake again.

    I realise my original post was unclear. I meant – “does it really matter why he stepped down”, not “does it matter if it was misreported”. I have corrected the original.

  • Benedict Carter

    I can’t resist it but … .

    I told you so.

  • Kalina

    Zenit is the papal agency. This revelation about the divine voice was intended – it legalized new Pope

  • luisantonio

    Zenit is NOT ‘the papal agency’.

  • PaulF

    It is completely normal to take decisions about one’s own future to the Lord in prayer. And it is completely normal for the Lord to let us know which way he is leading by associating it with a deep inner joy.
    Is this a ‘mystical’ experience? Is ‘mystical’ a term we should be using at all in the daylight of the Lord’s Resurrection?
    I think the answer to both questions is no. The issue is definitional, not something I would devote time to arguing about.

  • Peter

    Pope Benedict said he was going into the life of hiding and prayer and therefore he would not have anything to do with the world. Obviously he has contradicted himself. Why is he allowed to receive guests?

  • Dave

    There is no contradiction. He said he was going to spend the rest of his life serving the Church through a life dedicated to prayer. He never said he never going to see anyone ever again nor occasionally step out into the sunlight.

  • Sara_TMS_again

    Benedict’s resignation was perfectly legal. He made sure of that.

    I suspect this denial is partly to obviate any suggestion that he was not of sound mind when he resigned.

  • Benedict Carter

    Thanks Agnus for this. This backs up what so many Traditionalists think. The Great Chastisement (at the least) is not far off.

  • PaulF

    Thank you. Rabbi Kaduri’s testimony is very significant if it means the Jewish people are coming to the realization of the true Messiah.
    I’m skeptical about the prediction re the timing of his coming however, as Scripture tells us that no one knows this in advance.

  • Guest

    I presume “Shirom Peres” is either supposed to be Shimon Peres, who is not in a coma, or a mistake for Ariel Sharon, who is.