Vatican reports pope has pacemaker

Feb 12 2013 - 11:39am

Images

FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008, file photo, Pope Benedict XVI holds the pastoral staff as he celebrates Christmas midnight Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Declaring that he lacks the strength to do his job, Benedict announced Monday Feb. 11, 2013, he will resign Feb. 28 _ becoming the first pontiff to step down in 600 years. His decision sets the stage for a mid-March conclave to elect a new leader for a Roman Catholic Church in deep turmoil. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008, file photo, Pope Benedict XVI holds the pastoral staff as he celebrates Christmas midnight Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Declaring that he lacks the strength to do his job, Benedict announced Monday Feb. 11, 2013, he will resign Feb. 28 _ becoming the first pontiff to step down in 600 years. His decision sets the stage for a mid-March conclave to elect a new leader for a Roman Catholic Church in deep turmoil. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

 

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican is acknowledging for the first time that Pope Benedict XVI has had a pacemaker for years and that its battery was replaced a few months ago in secret.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said Benedict had the pacemaker installed "a long time" before he became pope in 2005. He called the latest medical procedure "routine."

It was the first time the Vatican has mentioned a papal pacemaker.

Italian daily Il Sole 24 said the pope had the pacemaker procedure less than three months ago in a Rome hospital and did not miss any public appearances.

Benedict is resigning on Feb. 28 because he says he has become too infirm to handle the burdens of the papacy. He will become the first pope to step down in six centuries.

 

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