Former Pope Benedict said he had a ‘mystical experience’ with God.

Via Reuters

VATICAN CITY — Former Pope Benedict has said he resigned after “God told me to” during what he called a “mystical experience,” a Catholic news agency reported.

Benedict, whose formal title is now Pope Emeritus, announced his resignation Feb. 11 and on Feb. 28 became the first pontiff to step down in 600 years. “God told me to do it,” the Zenith agency quoted Benedict as saying to a visitor to the convent in the Vatican gardens where he is living out his retirement in near isolation.

According to the agency, Benedict told his visitor, who asked to remain anonymous, that God did not speak to him in a vision but in what the former pope called “a mystical experience”

According to Italian media, Benedict’s decision to step down was influenced by the various scandals that blighted his eight-year papacy, including the arrest of his personal butler for leaking private documents alleging corruption in the Vatican. He was succeeded by Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina