God called on former pontiff Benedict XVI to quit, a Catholic news agency has claimed.
The controversial ex-pope, né Joseph Ratzinger, has said he received his holy P45 during a "mystical experience", according to the report.
The German Pontiff , who sent shock waves through the Catholic Church in February this year when he announced he would be the first Pope to quit the post in modern times, had said his increasing physical frailness meant he was not up to the job.
But six months after Pope Francis succeeded him, the Zenit news agency has claimed that Ratzinger told a senior Vatican source that “God told me to do it”.
The “mystical experience” has even continued in the months following his abdication, “ever bringing him closer to God”, the anonymous source is reported as saying.
Ratzinger, who was known for his PR blunders and lack of people skills, has even admitted that his popular successor Francis is better suited to the job. “The more I see Francis’s charisma, the more I realise the choice [to resign] was the will of God,” he reportedly said.
Ratzinger, who now enjoys the somewhat contradictory title of Pope Emeritus is living in the Vatican's Casa Santa Marta residence, just a few hundred yards from his successor.