Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Vatican confirms pope has had pacemaker for years

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has a pacemaker and has had it “for some time,” the Vatican spokesman said. The battery recently was changed, but that had nothing to do with the pope’s decision to resign, he added.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, made his remarks Feb. 12, the day after after the 85-year-old pope announced that because of his age and waning energies he was resigning effective Feb. 28.

The Jesuit spokesman described as an “indiscretion” a report in the Italian newpaper Il Sole 24 Ore, which said Pope Benedict had gone to private Rome clinic three months ago for a small “intervention” to change the batteries in his pacemaker.

The newspaper said the pope, who was elected in 2005, has had the pacemaker for 10 years. Father Lombardi confirmed it was put in while the pope was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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