Pope Benedict used pacemaker for years
A file picture taken on March 30, 2011 shows Pope Benedict XVI gesturing during his weekly general audience in St Peter's square at The Vatican. AFP PhotoThe Vatican spokesman said today that Pope had a heart pacemaker installed some time ago but was not suffering from poor health and remained lucid and serene. It had not been generally known that the 85-year-old pope had been fitted with a pacemaker.
Father Federico Lombardi said the batteries on the appliance were replaced three months ago in a minor, routine intervention but that had played no part in persuading the pontiff to take the shock decision to step down. “It had no influence on the decision, the reasons were in his perception that his strength had diminished with advancing age,” Lombardi told a press briefing at the Vatican.
Benedict announced his resignation on Feb. 10, citing frail health. On Feb. 28, he will become the first pontiff to step down in nearly 600 years.
Lombardi also announced that Pope will step aside completely from any role in running the Church after he resigns and will play no part in the election of his successor. “The pope has said in his declaration that he will use his time for prayer and reflection and will not have any responsibility for guidance of the Church or any administrative or government responsibility. This is absolutely clear and this is the sense of the resignation,” he said.
Pope’s brother also confirmed that Benedict is planning to stay out of the public eye following his retirement and will probably not write any further works during his lifetime. Speaking to reporters in his home in the southern German city of Regensburg, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, who was ordained on the same day as the pope in 1951, said his brother also has no plans to move back to his German homeland. “You don’t transplant an old tree,” the 89-year-old said.
Compiled from AP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.