Benedict's personal secretary denies resignation reports

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Pope Benedict XVI resigned as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics in February

The personal secretary of former Pope Benedict XVI has dismissed media reports that the pontiff's resignation was prompted by a belief that God had told him to.

Catholic news agency Zenit reported earlier this month that the Pope Emeritus had a "mystical experience" in which God "told me" to step down.

The report claimed the experience led to him having an "absolute desire" to dedicate his life exclusively to prayer and a solitary relationship with God.

The source for the story was anonymous.

However, Benedict's personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein told the Italian TV channel Canale 5 that the report from Zenit was "made up from alpha to omega".

"There is nothing true in that story," he said.

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